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I woke up late last night to see out of my window a shiny moon looking down on my house. It was so bright you could clearly make out the silhouettes of the trees and the shadows they were casting on the yard. It triggered me mentally to start thinking about a major celestial event coming up this summer. It's one you'll be hearing a lot about and you won't want to miss. Doing a little investigative research I dug up these facts from NASA on the coming solar eclipse. Make your plans accordingly.

Total Solar Eclipse!

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk.

Who Can See It?

Lots of people will see it! Everyone in the contiguous United States, in fact, everyone in North America plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see at least a partial solar eclipse, while the thin path of totality will pass through portions of 14 states.

What is It?

This rare event (or solar eclipse) in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location. For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.

Where Can You See It?

You can see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun, anywhere in North America (see “Who can see it?”). To see a total eclipse, where the moon fully covers the sun for a short few minutes, you must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon, around 70 miles wide, that will cross the U.S. from West to East. The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT. Totality begins there at 10:16 a.m. PDT. Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT. From there the lunar shadow leaves the United States at 4:09 EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.

When Can You See It?

Times for partial and total phases of the eclipse vary depending on your location.

How Can You See It?

You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality. That could severely hurt your eyes. However, there are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing – which requires some type of filtering device and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen. Both methods should produce clear images of the partial phase of an eclipse. Click here for eclipse viewing techniques and safety.

Here's some specifics for my forecast area of Eastern Iowa, Northwest Illinois and extreme Northeastern Missouri from the NWS.

  • The eclipse will start around 11:45 AM

  • The max near full eclipse will occur between 1:12-1:15 PM

  • The eclipse will end around 2:35 PM

  • The maximum coverage of the eclipse will range from about 88% in Freeport, Illinois to roughly 97% at Memphis, Missouri with the region around the I-80 corridor experiencing a max coverage near 91%

By the way, do you know the name and the artist of a famous song that referenced an eclipse in Nova Scotia? Here's a couple of lines...

Well I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia To see the total eclipse of the sun Well you're where you should be all the time And when you're not you're with Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend...

The initials of the singer song writer are CS. If you still haven't figured it out use Google. Anyway, I personally think the eclipse will be a fascinating experience and it's definitely on my list of things to do this summer. Roll weather...TS

sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.