Eclipse mania! Millions of Americans TODAY’S once-in-a-lifetime celestial event
- The eclipse begins its cross-country trajectory over the Pacific Coast of Oregon late Monday morning and will reach South Carolina’s Atlantic shore some 90 minutes later
- On Monday, the deepest part of the shadow, or umbra, cast by the moon will fall over a 70-mile-wide, 2,500-mile-long ‘path of totality’ traversing 14 states
- Officials in Oregon and other states are warning drivers the eclipse could cause the worst traffic jams
- Experts advise people to wear proper protective eyewear or risk lasting blind spots during the eclipse
- Monday’s event will be the first total solar eclipse spanning the entire continental United States since 1918
- It is also the first total solar eclipse visible anywhere in the Lower 48 states in 38 years
Twilight will fall at midday on Monday, stars will glimmer and birds will roost in an eerie stillness as millions of Americans and visitors witness the first total solar eclipse to traverse the United States from coast to coast in 99 years.
The sight of the moon’s shadow passing directly in front of the sun, blotting out all but the halo-like solar corona, may draw the largest live audience for a celestial event in human history. When those watching via broadcast and online media are factored into the mix, the spectacle will likely smash records.
‘It will certainly be the most observed total eclipse in history,’ astronomer Rick Fienberg of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) said last week.
The eclipse begins its cross-country trajectory over the Pacific Coast of Oregon in late morning. It will reach South Carolina’s Atlantic shore some 90 minutes later.
The total eclipse of the sun is considered one of the most spell-binding phenomena in nature but it rarely occurs over a wide swath of land, let alone one of the world’s most heavily populated countries at the height of summer.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is warning drivers that the Monday celestial event could cause some of the worst traffic jams in the state’s history.
Authorities are worried about the traffic impact that the eclipse will have on small towns that are not equip to be flooded with people.
Don Hamilton with ODOT said ‘there may be a million people who descend on the state for the eclipse, especially in the 60-mile path of totality that spans the state from west to east,’ KRON reported.
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The aerial photo above shows the estimated 30,000 people who have created their own temporary community on the grounds where the festival is being held in Big Summit Festival attendees in Oregon are in one of the perfect spots in the United States to see the rare eclipse on Monday in totality
Festival attendees in Oregon are in one of the perfect spots in the United States to see the rare eclipse on Monday in totality
The lunar shadow of the total solar eclipse on Monday will enter the United States near Lincoln City, Oregon at 9.05am (PST) and totality begins at 10.18am (PST). The eclipse will end in Charleston, South Carolina at 2.48pm (EST), and the lunar shadow leaves the country at 4.09pm (EST)
Festival goers dance at the Oregon Eclipse Festival at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon’s Ochoco National Forest on Sunday near the city of Mitchell ahead of the total solar eclipse on Monday
Campers, in town to view the solar eclipse, relax at their indoor campsites on the campus of Southern Illinois University the evening before Monday’s solar eclipse
The student marching band practices on the campus of Southern Illinois University pafore participating in the solar eclipse
Attendance was light during a concert and carnival on the campus of Southern Illinois University
Crowds wait in line for ‘eclipse’ donuts in Columbia, which is one of the prime destinations for viewing
Millions of Americans converged on a narrow corridor stretching from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the midday sun Monday
Newlyweds Candice Archer (left) and Courtney Loechl (right) of Calgary, Canada dance at the Oregon Eclipse Festival
With 200 million people within a day’s drive of the path of totality, towns and parks braced for monumental crowds
This will be the first eclipse of the social media era to pass through such a heavily populated area
Floridians Craig Wicks (left) and Rebecca Richardson sit on the roof of their vehicle during a drive-in movie at the Historic Columbia Speedway in Columbia, South Carolina, on Sunday
Eclipse mania!: Thousands have flocked to the Burning Man-style Oregon Eclipse Festival, in the state’s Ochoco National Forest. Revelers of the international seven-day gathering are anticipating Monday’s total solar eclipse
The Oregon Eclipse Festival at Big Summit Prairie ranch in the state’s Ochoco National Forest near the city of Mitchell is currently underway as attendees anticipate Monday’s big solar eclipse
The temporary city built from the dust in the path of eclipse totality is home for a week to about 30,000 people
Floridians Craig Wicks, right, and Rebecca Richardson prepare for a drive-in movie at the Historic Columbia Speedway
Festival goers practice yoga at the Solar Temple at the Oregon Eclipse Festival. The Solar Temple, which was built for the festival from trees that had been hit by lightening, will be the venue for viewing the total solar eclipse on Monday
Festival goer Alison Wu (left) poses for a photo at the Oregon Eclipse Festival, which started August 17th and ends August 23rd. Tickets for the event are sold out as thousands have flocked to Oregon to see the solar eclipse on Monday
Authorities are warning drivers that the Monday celestial event could cause some of the worst traffic jams in history. Pictured above is stand-still traffic in Oregon on Highway 26
The traffic to enter Grand Teton National Park outside of Jackson, Wyoming is heavy as people are flocking to the best eclipse viewing areas around the country on Sunday
RV traffic sits at a standstill along a two-lane road near Madras, Oregon, as thousands flock to the small town to view the eclipse on Monday
It is predicted to be nice and sunny on Monday in Portland with a high of 89 degrees as parts of the southeast will experience scattered thunderstorms with temperatures in the high 80s
Map of the drive time to the center-line of the eclipse, this map does not take into account extremely heavy traffic in areas that are currently seeing swells of revelers
People living in the northwest part of the country will have a 100 per cent chance of seeing the solar eclipse on Monday while those living on the northeast only have a 50 per cent chance
The eclipse will begin on the West Coast in Oregon at 10.19am (PST) and make its way across the country to South Carolina at 2.41pm (EST)
In terms of audience potential, it is hard to top the United States, with its mobile and affluent population, even though the direct path is mostly over rural areas, towns and small cities. The largest is Nashville, Tennessee, a city of 609,000 residents.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN ECLIPSE
During a total solar eclipse, the moon completely blocks the face of the sun, NASA explains.
This reveals the ‘pearly white halo’ of the sun’s corona – its outer atmosphere, which is invisible to the naked eye at all other times.
For this phenomenon to take place, the moon and the sun must be perfectly aligned, allowing the moon to appear as though it’s the exact size of the sun.
‘A total eclipse is a dance with three partners: the moon, the sun and Earth,’ said Richard Vondrak, a lunar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
‘It can only happen when there is an exquisite alignment of the moon and the sun in our sky.’
According to eclipse chaser Michael Aisner, the math of this actually taking place is ‘boggling.’
‘The moon is 400 times smaller in diameter than the sun, and the sun is 400 times further away,’ he explained in an eclipse-viewing tip list shared with Dailymail.com.
‘Bingo – a perfect fit even though the sun is 100 million miles farther away than the moon.’
Even so the advent of social media and inexpensive high-tech optics have boosted public awareness, assuring what many U.S. experts predict will be unprecedented viewership for the so-called ‘Great American Eclipse.’
Some might take issue with that prediction, citing a solar eclipse visible over parts of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and central China in July 2009. National Geographic estimated 30 million people in Shanghai and Hangzhou alone were in its path that day.
On Monday, the deepest part of the shadow, or umbra, cast by the moon will fall over a 70-mile-wide, 2,500-mile-long ‘path of totality’ traversing 14 states.
The 12 million people who live there can view the eclipse at its fullest merely by walking outside and looking up, weather permitting.
Some 200 million Americans reside within a day’s drive of the totality zone, and as many as seven million, experts say, are expected to converge on towns and campgrounds along the narrow corridor for the event.
Many are attending multi-day festivals featuring music, yoga and astronomy lectures.
The Oregon Eclipse Festival, which began on August 17th and ends August 23rd, is completely sold out as thousands have flocked to the state to view the eclipse on Monday.
Millions more could potentially watch in real time as the eclipse is captured by video cameras mounted on 50 high-altitude balloons and streamed online in a joint project between NASA and Montana State University.
A partial eclipse will appear throughout North America.
Adding further to the excitement is the wide availability of affordable solar-safe sunglasses produced by the millions and selling so fast that suppliers were running out of stock.
The owner of one leading manufacturer reported price gouging by second-hand dealers who were buying up large supplies in and reselling them over the internet at a huge mark-up.
Tattoo artist Chris “Lunch Box” Schirmer (right) gives a customer a tattoo of an eclipse at Sparxworx on August 20, 2017 in Casper, Wyoming
Sami Schirmer (left) helps a customer pick out an eclipse tattoo design at Sparxworx. Thouands of people have descended on Casper, Wyoming to see the solar eclipse in the path of totality as it passes over the state on August 21
A visitor puts a pin on map to show where she is visiting from during the Wyoming Eclipse Festival on August 20, 2017 in Casper, Wyoming
Ashley Ann Sander hawks solar eclipse glasses on the side of the road for $10 to tourists approaching Clayton, Georgia, on Sunday, August 20, 2017. Clayton is in the path of totality in North Georgia
The total eclipse of the sun is considered one of the most spell-binding phenomena in nature but it rarely occurs over a wide swath of land, let alone one of the world’s most heavily populated countries at the height of summer
A board advertises eclipse glasses for sale at a restaurant ahead of the total solar eclipse in Charleston, South Carolina, on August 20
Some 200 million Americans reside within a day’s drive of the totality zone, and as many as 7 million, experts say, are expected to converge on towns and campgrounds along the narrow corridor for the event
Bita Honarvar makes 26 modified paper plate solar eclipse viewing glasses for her son Naveed’s kindergarten class in Decatur, Georgia, on August 20
An eclipse t-shirt is seen for sale on a street near the City Market in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday
T-shirt vendor Jan Dahouas shows an eclipse t-shirt of his own design to a buyer on a street near the City Market in Charleston, South Carolina
Nikos Spyridonos and his daughter Zoe try out eclipse glasses ahead of the total solar eclipse in Charleston
Eclipse pins are seen for sale on a street near the City Market in Charleston. Many are attending multiday festivals featuring music, yoga and astronomy lectures
Zoe Spyridonos tries out eclipse glasses ahead of the total solar eclipse in Charleston, South Carolina. The wide availability of affordable solar-safe sunglasses produced by the millions has fueled the excitement. The sunglasses were selling so fast that suppliers were running out of stock
Dana Hamerschlag tests out a pair of eclipse glasses at the South Carolina State Museum
An Entrepreneurial sign for parking is displayed for drivers as they near the small town of Depoe Bay, Oregon as it prepares for the coming solar eclipse
Cameron DaSilva tests camera equipment he and his father, Peter DaSilva of ABC (not pictured), will use at the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience on August 20, 2017 in Madras, Oregon
A group poses at a photo-booth in Carbondale, Illinois, on Sunday, one day before the total solar eclipse
People wait for the start of a drive-in movie at the Historic Columbia Speedway
Children watch a presentation about the eclipse during a drive-in movie at the Historic Columbia Speedway
A Science Channel banner at the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon, on Sunday
Jeff Tidwell, of Alpharetta, Ga., looks over solar eclipse shirts for sale in the Wander North Georgia store Sunday in Clayton, Georgia
A small group of tourists eat lunch in a giant tent meant to accommodate hundreds on Sunday in Victor, Idaho. The small town, located directly beneath the path of totality expected an influx of more tourists than those who had arrived by Sunday afternoon
A sign advertises food for tourists on August 20, 2017 in Victor, Idaho. The small town, located directly beneath the path of totality expected an influx of more tourists than those who had arrived by Sunday afternoon
A girl wears an eclipse t-shirts as she walks with her family on August 20, 2017 in Driggs, Idaho
Ryker Fullmer, 12, waits for eclipse watchers to rent camping spots on his family’s land on August 20, 2017 in Tetonia, Idaho. Fuller said, although there were not campers at the time, there had been three groups on Friday night
Eclipse watcher Jim Peaco of Wyoming, sits in a nearly empty campground on August 20, 2017 at the rodeo grounds in Tetonia, Idaho. On Sunday afternoon, two tents were seen at the makeshift campground
A porta-potty waits for eclipse campers on August 20, 2017 at the rodeo grounds in Tetonia, Idaho. On Sunday afternoon, two tents were seen at the makeshift campground
Julie Patnode, second from left, sells eclipse-themed t-shirts to tourists on August 20, 2017 in Driggs, Idaho
New Yorkers are waiting in long lines on Sunday for eclipse glasses. Pictured above is the huge line on Sunday at Adorama Camera Shop in Chelsea
New Yorkers seem interested in getting their safe approved glasses for watching tomorrows eclipse as the line went down the block for the specialty camera store
Some of the gas stations where the eclipse will be in totality on Monday have already run out of fuel because of increased demand. Pictured above is a gas station in Jackson, Wyoming
Campers form ‘Solar Town,’ an agricultural field turned campground for total solar eclipse enthusiasts, in front of Mt. Jefferson in Madras, Oregon
Traffic began backing up in Oregon on Thursday, as it is likely to worsen leading up to the main event Monday
Cars line up at the south entrance to Grand Teton National Park on Saturday outside Jackson, Wyoming. People are flocking to the Jackson and Teton National Park area for the 2017 solar eclipse which will be one of the areas that will experience a 100 per cent eclipse on Monday
With a sign showing full camp grounds, cars drive into Grand Teton National Park on Saturday
Jim Blair walks Saluki dogs past a solar eclipse exhibit on the campus of Southern Illinois University on Saturday
Carol Jensen at the Black Bear Diner displays a hat and eclipse glasses in Madras, Oregon on Saturday
Campers adjust telescopes at Solartown in Madras, Oregon on Saturday as they prepare to view the solar eclipse
Not all the hoopla will unfold on dry land. Welsh pop singer Bonnie Tyler is slated to perform her 1983s hit single ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ aboard a cruise liner as the vessel sails into the path of totality from Florida on Monday.
Back on the ground, forest rangers, police and city managers in the total eclipse zone are bracing for a crush of travelers they fear will cause epic traffic jams and heighten wildfire hazards.
‘Imagine 20 Woodstock festivals occurring simultaneously across the nation,’ Michael Zeiler, an AAS advisory panel member wrote on his website, GreatAmericanEclipse.com, referring to the famously chaotic 1969 outdoor rock extravaganza in upstate New York.
HOW TO SAFELY WATCH AN ECLIPSE
Experts warn that everyone who plans to look skyward when the solar eclipse sweeps across the country Monday should have the proper protective eyewear or risk lasting blind spots.
Regular sunglasses will not do, the US space agency says.
Only eclipse glasses that have a certification with ‘ISO 12312-2 international standard’ are safe for use, according to NASA.
More than 6,800 libraries across nationwide are distributing safety-certified glasses.
Other options are number 14 welder’s glass, or making a pinhole projector that allows a user to project the image of the Sun on paper or cardboard.
Eye doctors urge strict adult supervision for eclipse watchers under 16 years old.
‘The dangers of looking at the Sun are real and serious,’ said Vincent Jerome Giovinazzo, director of ophthalmology at Staten Island University Hospital, Northwell Health.
‘The damage can really be permanent and right smack in the center of their vision.’
Zeiler, an avowed ‘eclipse chaser’ who made the 650-mile drive from his New Mexico home to Wyoming for a choice view, said South Carolina is likely to see the greatest influx as the destination state closest to the entire U.S. Eastern seaboard.
Monday’s event will be the first total solar eclipse spanning the entire continental United States since 1918 and the first visible anywhere in the Lower 48 states in 38 years.
The next one over North America is due in just seven years, in April 2024.
Schools in the path of the eclipse are seizing on ready-made science lesson for students.
A fourth-grade class at a suburban Kansas City school erupted in wonder when they tried on their solar eclipse glasses for the first time and turned toward the sun for an eclipse ‘practice.’
‘The sun looks like the moon!’ ‘It’s really dark!’ ‘There’s just a little circle of light!’ ‘It’s just a speck up there!’
The students at Clardy Elementary School in North Kansas City were practicing the proper use of the glasses Friday in anticipation of Monday’s solar eclipse.
Their teacher, Christy Lister, had gone through slides detailing how and when to wear the glasses, how to care for them and proper behavior during the eclipse.
It was only the third day of the school year, but the students had already talked about eyes, the solar system and other eclipse-related topics.
The district’s teachers and administrators began planning for the big event last May and worked through the summer on age-specific activities for the district’s 20,000 students.
The activities will include kindergartners using beads that react to ultraviolet light from the sun, while others will conduct experiments measuring atmospheric changes during the eclipse or create solar viewers with 3-D printers.
U.S. schools along and near the coast-to-coast path where the sun will be totally blacked out by the moon during the eclipse are taking widely varying approaches.
While some districts are seizing the opportunity for ready-made lessons, others are closing for the day or keeping kids inside because of safety concerns.
In Idaho, districts in and around Twin Falls are using the day for science education, while many districts in the eastern part of the state either canceled school or will start the school year a day later.
The cloud cover on Monday during the eclipse will be 100 per cent in some parts of the midwest in the U.S. Areas shaded bright white are forecast to see the thickest cloud cover. Light gray represents thinner or more scattered cloud cover
Viewing the eclipse in the northwest might be the best location as it is set to be perfect weather in Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming on Monday
Cloud cover and scattered storms might cause problems for those trying to view the eclipse in the midwest on Monday
Scattered storms will also hit parts of Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri during the solar eclipse on Monday
Some parts of the southeast will experience scattered storms on Monday during the solar eclipse
Showers are possible for some cities on the East Coast on Monday as it will be sunny in New York City and Boston on Monday
In Wyoming, the Laramie School District moved the first day of school to Tuesday after the superintendent said he had ‘grossly underestimated’ the event’s significance.
North Kansas City found the educational opportunity irresistible, said Jill Hackett, a deputy superintendent.
‘Students will gain a lot more by watching, discussing what they see with their teachers and other students,’ she said. ‘I think it will be extraordinary.’
Smaller towns expecting huge influxes of visitors have concerns about transportation. The primary worry for many districts is the risk of eye injuries for students who gaze at the sun without properly wearing the right glasses.
Across the country, American Indian tribes are observing the eclipse in similar and not-so-similar ways.
Some tribal members will ignore it, others might watch while praying for an anticipated renewal, and those in prime viewing spots are welcoming visitors with storytelling, food and celebration.
For the Crow Tribe in Montana, the eclipse coincides with the Parade Dance at the annual Crow fair, marking the tribe’s new year.
Many American Indian tribes revere the sun and moon as cultural deities, great sources of power and giver of life.
The Crow’s cultural director, William Big Day, said the sun is believed to die and come back to life during an eclipse.
In more nomadic days, Crows would offer each other ‘good wishes’ for their travels, and elders would advise them to do a cleansing ceremony to start anew, he said.
U.S. Bureau of Indian Education spokeswoman Nedra Darling said the agency’s schools, most of which are on the Navajo Nation, were given the option of closing Monday.
Navajo Nation employees have Monday off, and other schools on and off the reservation that extends into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah earlier decided to close in respect of the culture that teaches that looking at the sun during an eclipse can be harmful not only to one’s eyesight but for overall well-being.
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