#American #SolarEclipse – ‘Great American Total Solar Eclipse’ Just 1 Year Away : Aug. 21, 2017, is a red-letter day for eclipse enthusiasts. On that date, the sun will be partially eclipsed over an immense area that includes all of North America, the northern third of South America, much of the eastern Pacific Ocean (including the Hawaiian Islands), virtually all of the north Atlantic Ocean and a slice of western Europe.
For much of the United States, at least 80 percent of the sun’s diameter will be eclipsed by the passing new moon. Some eclipse chasers have billed it as the “Great American Total Solar Eclipse.”
And a total eclipse will be visible along a narrow track that runs diagonally from northwest to southeast across the Lower 48 — the first such event that’s visible for this part of the world since February 1979.
It will also be the first time that the path of a total solar eclipse will go coast to coast across the U.S. since 1918. Although many people have viewed a total eclipse of the moon, few have been lucky enough to see a total solar eclipse.
In the 21st century, total eclipses of the sun occur on an average of once every 17.6 months, but they’re often only visible over open water or from sparsely populated areas. Indeed, Americans under the age of 40 who have never ventured outside of the country have never witnessed a totalsolar eclipse.
Since 1960, just three such events have been visible from the U.S. mainland – on July 20, 1963, March 7, 1970 and Feb. 26, 1979. But at long last, next summer, this greatest of celestial roadshows will be coming to a sky near you.
The path of the moon’s shadow
This August 2017 eclipse will have a potential viewing audience of at least 12 million people who already happen to live within the totality path. However, about 220 million people live within a one-day drive (about 500 miles, or 800 kilometers) of the totality zone.
At local sunrise on Aug. 21, 2017, the dark umbral shadow of the moon will first touch Earth at a point in the North Pacific, about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) northwest of Hawaii. And then, for the next 193 minutes, the shadow will first head east-northeast, then east and finally southeast, darkening a narrow strip of North America along the way.