The Great American Total Solar Eclipse – August 21, 2017


Path of eclipse in Oregon.
Source: ‘Michael Zeiler,’.

In just over four months, a total solar eclipse will take place August 21, 2017 at 10:17 AM PDT in central Salem, OR. The path of totality will stretch across the continental United States, from Lincoln City, OR to  Charlesown, SC. In Oregon, the path of totality will be in the grey area on the above map. The blue line indicates the the path of greatest totality. The duration here will be about 1 minute and 58 seconds. This is the best place to view the eclipse is on the red line in the center. The further from this line, the shorter the duration. Travel outside the red lines and only a partial eclipse will be visible, although there will be a few minutes of twilight close to the boundaries.

Path of eclipse across US
Source: NASA

After leaving Oregon the path of totality will continue through the central US ans into the southeast US before leaving the US mainland in South Carolina. This will be the first total eclipse visible in the United States since 1991 and the first visible from the 48 contiguous states since 1979.

Traveling to the path of the eclipse

If you hadn’t made reservations already, do so as soon. Rooms are filling up fast and are sold out in many places along the path. Also, many hotels are raising their rates at this time in anticipation of this event. A search of the Motel 6 site revealed that  rooms are already sold out in Salem, OR the nights from Aug. 20 – 22, although rooms are still available in Portland, although the eclipse won’t be total there. However, rooms are still available in Nashville, TN at reasonable another city on the path of totality.

Flights to cities along the path within a few days before the eclipse are also likely to to soon be booked as well as flights from these cities a few days after. So make your plans soon.

Viewing the eclipse

Although the best show will be the path of totality, the entire continental United States as well as most of North America will experience a partial eclipse. To view the partial eclipse safely, eye protection, such as a set of approved eclipse glasses would be necessary. This is a must if you can’t make it to the path of totality and plan to view the eclipse. Never attempt to look at the sun without eye protection, even for a second! Even if the eclipse is almost total, but not quite, you still need eye protection. Looking at any portion if the sun’s disk can cause serious or permanent eye damage. Also, eye protection is recommended viewing the total ecipse as well. Better safe than sorry.  Eclipse glasses are inexpensive and can be purchased at online at

Don’t forget about your camera

Just as you must have eye protection to view the eclipse safely, you should also have some protection for your camera.

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