Monday marked the first time in decades that a total solar eclipse was visible in the continental US. The path of totality was about 70 miles wide and passed through 14 states, from Oregon to South Carolina. The rest of the country, however, saw varying degrees of a partial eclipse.
Partial Solar Eclipse 2017 seen from NYC. Credit: Melissa Fleming
Here in New York City, the magnitude was only about 72%. Nonetheless, this celestial event had a noticeable impact on the local temperature. Our weather station in mid-town Manhattan showed a drop of 3.7°F as the moon briefly obscured the afternoon sun.
The next solar eclipse that will be visible from the east coast will take place on April 8, 2024. So, hold on to those eclipse viewing glasses!
The solar eclipse peaked at 2:44 PM EDT in NYC. Credit: The Weather Gamut
The Great American Solar Eclipse will take place on Monday, August 21. It will be the first time that a total solar eclipse has been visible anywhere in the contiguous US since 1979 and the first event of its kind to travel across the entire continent since 1918.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on the planet’s surface. Communities that are located in the large, but lighter penumbral shadow will see a partial eclipse. Those in the smaller, but darker umbral shadow will experience a total solar eclipse. Moving across the Earth, the umbral shadow creates what is known as a path of totality.
On Monday, this path will cross through fourteen states, from Oregon to South Carolina. However, every state in the Lower 48, as well as parts of Mexico and Canada, will see some degree of a partial eclipse.
This celestial event is also expected to affect the weather across the country. As the moon briefly obscures the Sun, temperatures are forecast to drop a few degrees. This, in turn, will also cause the winds to slacken.
When viewing this historic event, do not look directly at the Sun. Doing so will cause serious eye damage. Use special eclipse viewing glasses or a method of indirect viewing, such as a pinhole projector.
Path of Totality for Solar Eclipse 2017. Credit: GreatAmericanEclipse