A total eclipse of the Sun occurs on 21 August, 2017 AD UT. A dramatic total eclipse will plunge the Sun into darkness for 2 minutes and 40 seconds at maximum, creating an amazing spectacle for observers in a path up to 115 km wide. It will be seen across the central US. The partial eclipse will be visible from the whole of North America, northern South America, and western Europe and Africa.
The timings of the phases of the eclipse are as follows:
|Partial eclipse begins:||15:46:51 UT|
|Total eclipse begins:||16:48:36 UT|
|Maximum eclipse:||18:25:32 UT|
|Total eclipse ends:||20:02:34 UT|
|Partial eclipse ends:||21:04:24 UT|
This will be visible as a spectacular total eclipse to millions of people in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, the north-east corner of Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, north-east Georgia, and the Carolinas.
The path starts in the Pacific well north of Hawaii at 16:48 UT, and then crosses to make landfall in the northern half of Oregon at 17:17 UT. The line of maximum eclipse hits the coast just south of Lincoln City; the path is 99 km wide here, so residents of Portland would be well advised to make the short trip south to the centreline, where the eclipse will last 1 minute 59 seconds (although getting inland away from the clouds may also be a good idea).
The eclipse then passes into Idaho and Wyoming, and enters Nebraska about 17:48 UT. The path width is up to 110 km here, and the duration on the centreline is 2 minutes 29 seconds.
The path of totality then clips the north-east corner of Kansas about 18:06 UT; it passes just north of Kansas City and crosses Missouri, where St. Louis is unluckily just north of the path. The centreline passes De Soto, just south of the city, at 18:18 UT, so the residents would be well advised to make a trip south for the day to see 2 minutes and 40 seconds of total eclipse.
The path then crosses the southern end of Illinois, passing just south of Carbondale at about 18:21 UT. Seven years later, the total eclipse of April 8, 2024 crosses the same spot; part of the incredible USA eclipse bonanza.
The eclipse is very close to maximum here, and in fact reaches maximum at 18:25 UT, in western Kentucky near Princeton. At this point the total eclipse will cover a path 115 km wide, and will last 2 minutes and 40 seconds on the centreline.
After maximum, the path of totality moves on southeast across Tennessee, and then clips North Carolina and Georgia before moving into South Carolina. Observers in Georgia will have to get into the very north-east corner of the state to be close to the centre of the eclipse, which will be there at 18:37 UT, with totality lasting 2 minutes 38 seconds.
The path of totality crosses South Carolina and reaches the ocean just north of Charleston, at 18:48 UT. The duration of the total eclipse will still be 2 minutes 33 seconds on the centreline, so it is still a spectacular eclipse — if the sky is clear; the path of totality is 115 km wide.
This diagram shows the area (shaded in green) which will see the partial eclipse:
As you can see, the whole of North America, plus parts of South America, will see the partial eclipse. The blue lines show how deep an eclipse will be seen in each place; so people from San Francisco to southern Florida will see 0.8, or 80%, of the Sun's diameter covered by the Moon. All of the "lower 48" will see at least a 60% eclipse, with most of Alaska seeing betwen 40% and 60%.
The Hawaiian Islands will see the partial eclipse at sunrise; but you'll need a good clear view of the horizon to see it. Honolulu, Hawaii, will see 39% of the Sun's diameter covered from dawn (which is at about 16:12 UT) to 17:25 UT, with the maximum just after sunrise at 16:36 UT.
Likewise some observers in western Europe, particularly the British Isles, will be able to see the partial eclipse at sunset. The Ballycroy area in Ireland will see a partial eclipse covering 10% of the Sun from 18:37 – 19:27 UT; Stornoway sees a sliver of a partial eclipse from 18:36 – 19:13 UT; and Penzance sees 13% of the Sun covered from 18:40 UT to sunset at 19:29 UT. Out in the Atlantic, Horta, in the Azores, sees 40% of the Sun obscured from 18:37 – 20:13 UT.
This is the 22nd eclipse in Saros series 145. The previous eclipse in this series is on 11 Aug, 1999 AD; the next is on 2 Sep, 2035 AD. The previous eclipse in the Triple Saros is on 20 Jul, 1963 AD; the next is on 23 Sep, 2071 AD.
This map shows the visibility of the eclipse. The shaded area will see the total solar eclipse; however, near the edges of this area, the eclipse will be very short. The bold line shows the centre of the path, where the eclipse will last longest, so this is where you want to be if possible.
Use the zoom controls to zoom in and out; hover your mouse over any point on the centreline to see the time and duration of the eclipse at that point. You can pan and zoom the map to see detail for any part of the eclipse path.
This map sourced from NASA's Eclipse Web Site shows the visibility of the total solar eclipse. It also shows the broader area in which a partial eclipse will be seen. (Click on it for the full-sized version.)
|Saros Series||145||Saros Number||21|
|Penumbral Magnitiude||Central Magnitiude||1.0306|
|Gamma||0.4367||Path Width (km)||115|
|Delta T||70||Penumbral Duration|
|Partial Duration||Total Duration||2 minutes and 40 seconds|
|Contact p1||15:46:51 on 21 Aug UT||Contact p2|
|Contact u1||16:48:36 on 21 Aug UT||Contact u2||16:49:36 on 21 Aug UT|
|Max eclipse||18:25:32 on 21 Aug UT|
|Contact u3||20:01:40 on 21 Aug UT||Contact u4||20:02:34 on 21 Aug UT|
|Contact p3||Contact p4||21:04:24 on 21 Aug UT|
The TD Date/Time of this eclipse (as shown in NASA's eclipse listings) is 18:26:40 on 21 Aug TDT.