Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017|2:14 p.m.
Millions of Americans converged on a narrow corridor stretching from Oregon to South Carolina to enjoy the moon blot out the midday sun Monday for a fascinating couple of minutes in the first overall solar eclipse to sweep coast to coast in 99 years.
Veteran eclipse watchers alerted the unaware to get prepared to be blown away.
Planetariums and museums posted “Sold out of eclipse glasses” on their front doors. Signs along highways advised motorists of “Solar Eclipse Monday,” while cars and trucks bore the message “Eclipse or bust.”
With 200 million people within a day’s drive of the path of totality, towns and parks braced for significant crowds. It’s anticipated to be the most observed, most studied and most photographed eclipse ever. Not to mention the most joyful, what with all the celebrations.
In Salem, Oregon, a field outside the state fairgrounds was changed into a camping site in advance of an eclipse-watching celebration for 8,500.
“It’s one of those ‘inspect package’ kind of things in life,” stated Hilary O’Hollaren, who owned 30 miles from Portland with her 2 teenagers and a camping tent, plus a couple buddies.
Astronomers consider a complete solar eclipse the grandest of cosmic eyeglasses.
The Earth, moon and sun line up perfectly each to three years, briefly turning day into night for a sliver of the planet. But these sights normally remain in no male’s land, like the vast Pacific or the poles. This will be the very first eclipse of the social networks period to travel through such a heavily populated area.
The moon hasn’t tossed this much shade at the U.S. since 1918. That was the nation’s last coast-to-coast overall eclipse.
In reality, the U.S. mainland hasn’t seen an overall solar eclipse because 1979– and even then, only five states in the Northwest experienced total darkness before the eclipse drifted in Canada.
Monday’s total eclipse will cast a shadow that will race through 14 states, going into near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 1:16 p.m. EDT, moving diagonally throughout the heartland and after that leaving near Charleston, South Carolina, at 2:47 p.m. EDT. The course will cut 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) throughout the land and will be just 60 to 70 miles (96 kilometers to 113 kilometers) large.
Mostly clear skies beckoned along much of the route, according to the National Weather condition Service.
Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois will see the longest stretch of darkness: 2 minutes and 44 seconds.
All North America will get at least a partial eclipse. Central America and the top of South America will likewise see the moon cover part of the sun.
NASA and other scientists will be viewing and evaluating from telescopes the ground and in orbit, the International Spaceport station, airplanes and ratings of high-altitude balloons, which will beam back live video. Resident scientists will keep an eye on animal and plant behavior as daylight turns into twilight and the temperature drops.
NASA’s associate administrator for science objectives, Thomas Zurbuchen, required to the skies for a dry run Sunday. He will introduce the eclipse over the Pacific Coast from a NASA plane.
“Cannot await the cosmic moment Mon morning,” he tweeted.
Near Victoria, British Columbia, where 91 percent of the sun will be eclipsed, science and mathematics teacher Clayton Uyeda is planning to watch from a ferry together with his better half. He said he is “expecting to have a genuine sense of connection with the paradises.”
He has likewise lofty wish for his trainees if they can bring themselves to search for at the sky instead of down at their electronic devices.
Researchers everywhere concur with Uyeda: Put the phones and cams down and take pleasure in the best natural show in the world with your very own (secured) eyes.
The only time it’s safe to look directly without protective eyeglasses is throughout totality, when the sun is 100 percent covered. Otherwise, keep the solar specs on or utilize pinhole projectors that can cast a picture of the eclipse into a box.
The next total solar eclipse in the United States will be in 2024. The next coast-to-coast one will not be until 2045.
Associated Press writer Gillian Flaccus contributed from Salem, Oregon.