TECH

Solar Eclipse 2017: US Views Its First Nationwide Eclipse Since 1918

The last time this happened was in 1918.

21/08/2017 18:42 | Updated 21 August 2017

Hordes of people turned out to view what was the first total solar eclipse to take place across the United States for almost 100 years.

Kicking off around 6PM GMT, the total eclipse moved from the east coast state of Oregon to the west coast state of South Carolina.

While the totality itself lasts just a few minutes, the vast coverage over 14 states meant that millions had the potential to see it with millions more travelling from the wider United States just to get a view.

  • JASON REDMOND / Reuters
    People watch the solar eclipse during the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience at Madras High School in Madras, Oregon, U.S. August 21, 2017. 
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    A multiple exposure image shows the solar eclipse as it creates the effect of a diamond ring at totality as seen from Clingmans Dome, which at 6,643 feet (2,025m) is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, U.S. August 21, 2017. 
  • NASA NASA / Reuters
    The umbra, the moon's shadow, over the United States from space is seen from the International Space Station from outer space, August 21, 2017.
  • Christian Hartmann / Reuters
    The lighthouse of Eckmuehl is seen in silhouette at sunset during a partial solar eclipse, as the moon passes in front of the sun, in Penmarc'h, in Brittany, France, August 21, 2017.
  • Mike Blake / Reuters
    Solar Eclipse in Depoe Bay, Oregon, U.S. August 21, 2017.
  • NASA
  • Mike Blake / Reuters
    Solar Eclipse in Depoe Bay, Oregon, U.S. August 21, 2017.
  • Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images
  • A post shared by NASA Goddard (@nasagoddard) on

Cities directly located along the line of totality have seen an influx of tourists and eclipse viewers.

Boston Globe via Getty Images
Locals in Hopkinsville have already moved to makeshift campgrounds in order to get the best view.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky saw its population rise from 30,000 to over 100,000 in just a few days.

Meanwhile on the east coast, Madras, Oregon suffered an even greater strain as the small town which normally a population of just 7,000 also saw its numbers rise to well over 100,000 people.

JASON REDMOND / Reuters
A woman looks through a telescope on the football field at Madras High School the evening before a solar eclipse in Madras, Oregon.

For the scientific community, the eclipse was a rare opportunity to both study the event and drum up interest in the work they do every single day.

Neil deGrasse Tyson went a step further suggesting that the event was a rare chance for the country to come together during what has been a deeply unsettling year.

NASA’s impressive livestream coverage as well as its comprehensive website dedicated to the event allowed every visitor to both witness the phenomenon from around the globe while also learning about the science that will take place as well.

While most saw this as a chance to simply witness a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, others saw this as a spiritual moment.

Scott Olson via Getty Images
Sinking Fork Baptist Church displays a message related to the upcoming solar eclipse to motorist who pass by on the highway.

Bryan Fischer, host of a Christian radio show in the US, even went as far as to claim that the eclipse is a sign of the work of satan.

This is a metaphor, or a sign, of the work of the Prince of Darkness in obscuring the light of God’s truth,” he wrote on Facebook, adding, “Satan, and those who unwittingly serve as his accomplices by resisting the public acknowledgement of God and seeking to repress the expression of Christian faith in our land, are bringing on us a dark night of the national soul.”

Not one to allow the mention of satan without adding comment, the actual Church of Satan then tweeted this:

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse takes place when the Moon’s orbit places it directly between the Earth and the Sun.
This is different to a lunar eclipse which takes place when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon.
A solar eclipse creates two large shadows: The umbra and the penumbra.

As it reaches Earth the umbra will get smaller, creating a dark spot, this is the total solar eclipse. The penumbra on the other hand gets larger, covering huge swathes of the planet with a partial solar eclipse.

 took place in Indonesia in 2016, you can see the stunning photos from that event here:
  • AP
    A total solar eclipse is seen in Belitung, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo)
  • Irmansyah/AP
    A total solar eclipse is seen in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Irmansyah)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A total solar eclipse is seen in Luwuk, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Irmansyah)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A total solar eclipse is seen in Belitung, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse is seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The rare astronomical event is being witnessed Wednesday along a narrow path that stretches across 12 provinces encompassing three times zones and about 40 million people. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse is seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The rare astronomical event is being witnessed Wednesday along a narrow path that stretches across 12 provinces encompassing three times zones and about 40 million people. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse is seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The rare astronomical event is being witnessed Wednesday along a narrow path that stretches across 12 provinces encompassing three times zones and about 40 million people. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The moon is obscuring part of the sun during a solar eclipse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    DONGGALA, CENTRAL SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: A view of the partial solar eclipse captured from Donggala. The total eclipse starts over the Indian Ocean, made landfall across Indonesia, including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, Teluk Tomini and Halmahera in the Moluccas and then headed out over the north Pacific Ocean, to ended near the Hawaiian islands. (Photo by Bambang Prastowo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    DONGGALA, CENTRAL SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: A view of the partial solar eclipse captured from Donggala. The total eclipse starts over the Indian Ocean, made landfall across Indonesia, including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, Teluk Tomini and Halmahera in the Moluccas and then headed out over the north Pacific Ocean, to ended near the Hawaiian islands. (Photo by Bambang Prastowo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    DONGGALA, CENTRAL SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: A view of the total solar eclipse captured from Donggala. The total eclipse starts over the Indian Ocean, made landfall across Indonesia, including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, Teluk Tomini and Halmahera in the Moluccas and then headed out over the north Pacific Ocean, to ended near the Hawaiian islands. (Photo by Bambang Prastowo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • SONNY TUMBELAKA via Getty Images
    The picture shows a total solar eclipse in Jimbaran on Bali island on March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse swept across the vast Indonesian archipelago on March 9, marked by ecstatic sky gazers cheering the spectacle, devout Muslims kneeling in prayer and tribespeople performing rituals. / AFP / SONNY TUMBELAKA (Photo credit should read SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    NAKHON PATHOM, THAILAND - 2016/03/09: View of the solar eclipse around The Phra Sri thotphon President sakya phutthamonthon suthat at Office of National Buddhism in Nakhon Pathom. The phenomenon occurs when the moon laterally passes in front of the sun. (Photo by Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    NAKHON PATHOM, THAILAND - 2016/03/09: View of the solar eclipse around The Phra Sri thotphon President sakya phutthamonthon suthat at Office of National Buddhism in Nakhon Pathom. The phenomenon occurs when the moon laterally passes in front of the sun. (Photo by Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    MAKASSAR, SOUTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: Partial solar eclipse as seen in Makassar. Several place in Indonesia experienced total solar eclipse, meanwhile in Makassar people just experienced the partial eclipse. (Photo by Yermia Riezky Santiago/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    NAKHON PATHOM, THAILAND - 2016/03/09: View of the solar eclipse around The Phra Sri thotphon President sakya phutthamonthon suthat at Office of National Buddhism in Nakhon Pathom. The phenomenon occurs when the moon laterally passes in front of the sun. (Photo by Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    MAKASSAR, SOUTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 2016/03/09: The partial solar eclipse as seen from behind the negative film. Several place in Indonesia experienced total solar eclipse, meanwhile in Makassar people just experienced the partial eclipse. (Photo by Yermia Riezky Santiago/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • SONNY TUMBELAKA via Getty Images
    The picture shows a total solar eclipse in Jimbaran on Bali island on March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse swept across the vast Indonesian archipelago on March 9, marked by ecstatic sky gazers cheering the spectacle, devout Muslims kneeling in prayer and tribespeople performing rituals. / AFP / SONNY TUMBELAKA (Photo credit should read SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Bullit Marquez/AP
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • Bullit Marquez/AP
    A partial solar eclipse occurs Wednesday, March 9, 2016 as seen from Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • Heng Sinith/AP
    The moon is obscuring part of the sun during a solar eclipse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
  • Firdia Lisnawati/AP
    A partial solar eclipse is seen at Serangan village in Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. People gazed at the sky in wonder and cheered while others knelt in prayer as a total eclipse of the sun unfolded over Indonesia on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS