For as long as I can remember, I’ve been intrigued with eclipses. Witnessing a total solar eclipse? Never gonna’ happen, I thought. Now, it appears that I may! This year, Monday, August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will race across the continental United States, bisecting my home state of Nebraska (sadly, totality will completely bypass my native state of Iowa).
You can be hundreds of miles from the theoretical point of Greatest Duration [Trail of Tears State Forest in Southern Illinois] and still enjoy totality lasting within a fraction of a second of the maximum possible (as long as you stay within several miles of the central line). It’s much more important to watch the weather forecasts a day or two before the eclipse and choose a location with the best chance of a cloud-free sky during the eclipse. Even in Oregon, the total eclipse still lasts 2 minutes. Good weather is the key to successful eclipse viewing – better to see a shorter eclipse from clear sky that a longer eclipse under clouds.
My daughter and I got to see Halley’s Comet the last time through (1984). I hope to see this eclipse with my 3 granddaughters. The next total solar eclipse visible in North America will be in 2024 and beyond.
This is no April Fool’s prank! May you all enjoy clear skies and happy viewing!