Wednesday, August 5, 2020
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Total solar eclipse exactly one year away

A total eclipse of the sun will occur one year from today and will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States since 1979.

Shawnee National Forest, near Carbondale, Illinois, has the distinction of being the point on Earth that will see totality for the longest duration. A point in the forest about midway between US-51 and I-57 has the distinction. The maximum eclipse occurs a little later over Kentucky.


Animated map of the eclipse from NASA

Credit: Fred Espenak/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Mr Eclipse.com)

Circumstances of the eclipse on August 21, 2017

  • (P1) Partial eclipse begins at 15:46:48 UT (10:46 AM CDT)
  • (U1) Total eclipse begins at 16:48:32 UT (11:48 AM CDT)
  • Greatest eclipse occurs at 18:26:40 UT (1:26 PM CDT)
  • (U4) Total eclipse ends at 20:01:35 UT (3:01 PM CDT)
  • (P4) Partial eclipse ends at 21:04:19 UT (4:04 PM CDT)

The total eclipse hits Murphysboro, Illinois, at 1:19:30 PM, Makanda at 1:20:11 PM, and Marion at 1:20:40 PM. People in these towns will see the total eclipse for about 2 minutes 40 seconds, very close to the maximum duration that could be hidden by trees in the forest.

The next total solar eclipse in the US will occur in 2024. The last time a total eclipse made landfall completely within what is now the contiguous United States was in 1776.

Voxitatis will have more on the eclipse as the date approaches. I just wanted to give you time to plan, because, except for folks north of Kansas City and south of St Louis, the eclipse won’t be total near any highly populated regions, and road trips might be in order for science class.

If you are planning to take students to see the eclipse, please post a comment below and tell us what you hope to gain from the experience!

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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