On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will get to experience one of the rarest of phenomena = a solar eclipse! And I’m getting ready by painting a “Solar Eclipse” series.
This eclipse is a total one. It’s the first time a total solar eclipse has passed from one coast to the other in 99 years!
Well, it’s a total eclipse assuming you’re in the path of totality. (Don’t you just love the fancy scientific names astronomers come up with?). This path is where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s corona. But it’s a relatively narrow ribbon just 70 miles wide stretching from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
According to NASA, 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.
Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. For example, in Southwest Florida, the moon will cover about 77-78% of the sun (depending on your zip code) instead of the entire orb. Look for it to start around 1:20 in the afternoon, reach totality between 2:45 and 2:55 (Vox says 2:53:24 p.m.) and end at 4:17 p.m.
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.
Check back for additional paintings in my Solar Eclipse series, and call the gallery for information on how you can own one of these never-to-be-reproduced originals or prints.