Fun Facts about the Aug. 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
Adapted from posts by Michael Bakich, Astronomy Magazine
- This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years. The last one occurred February 26, 1979. For most of greater St. Louis area, the last total solar eclipse was in 1442. Totality crosses only through the US, no other country. It has been coined the “Great American Eclipse”.
- Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. This eclipse will be the most-viewed LIVE ever! More than 500 million people in the US, Canada and Mexico will have opportunity to see a partial eclipse. The path where the Sun is totally eclipsed runs through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and North and South Carolina. More than 10 million people are in the path of totality and 28 million people live within 60 miles of the path.
- The path will cut across Missouri from St. Joseph in the west to Ste. Genevieve in the east. 57 of Missouri’s 105 largest cities lie in the path of totality. More than 3 million Missourians live in this path! 24 of Missouri’s 53 largest Colleges and Universities are in the path with a student population of more than 130,000 students.
- Some of the eastern Missouri towns and cities in the path include: DeSoto, Farmington, Festus, Hermann, Hillsboro, Pacific, Perryville, Potosi, Ste. Genevieve, St. Clair, Sullivan, Warrenton, Washington, Union and large areas of St. Charles and St. Louis Counties,
- A spot near Carbondale, Illinois will experience the longest duration of Totality, more than 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Missouri will experience as much as 3 hours of the partial eclipse and 2 minutes 30 seconds of totality!
- State Capitals in the path: Salem, OR (pop.=157,000); Jefferson City, MO (pop.=43,000); Nashville, TN (pop.=609,000); and Columbia, SC (pop.=132,000)
- It is never safe to look at the Sun without proper eye protection. The only safe way to view a partial or annular eclipse is using a projection of the Sun (such as a pinhole projector). Filtered views of the Sun (such as eclipse glasses) can be safe too but the equipment must be properly filtered and correctly used.
- During the time the Moon’s disk covers that of the Sun, it’s safe to look at the eclipse. In fact, to experience the awesomeness of the event, you must look at the Sun without a filter during totality.
- You won’t need a telescope. One of the great things about the total phase of a solar eclipse is that it looks best to naked eyes. The sight of the corona surrounding the Moon’s black disk in a darkened sky is unforgettable.
- You may experience strange things. Apparent nightfall, dusk to dawn lights may come on. Shadows will look eerie. Breezes may vanish and birds may come in to roost. A 10°–15° F drop in temperature is not unusual. is not unusual.