Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Don't Miss the Eclipse

Witnessing the 1999 total eclipse in Northern France was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. It would have been even better if it hadn't been obscured by clouds.

On August 21 North America will experience a total eclipse of the sun. If you are planning to view the eclipse then you might want to check NOAA's Cloudiness Map of the Eclipse. The map not only shows you where you can see a total eclipse (the umbral path) but also tells you the chance of clouds along the eclipse's path, based on historical weather data.

The map includes a number of circles which are colored based on the chance of cloud cover. If you click on these circles you can view the percentage chance of having an unobstructed view of the eclipse (based on the amount of cloud cover at that location on August 21st in previous years).

Judging by the map Nebraska, Wyoming and Idaho are the states where you will have the best chance of an unobstructed view. However these states are not the best places to view the eclipse in terms of duration. If you want to experience the eclipse with the longest duration you need to be near Carbondale in Illinois, where the sun will be completely obscured for two minutes and 40 seconds.

NASA's Total Solar Eclipse Interactive Map also shows the path of the eclipse across the United States. NASA's map doesn't include information about the likelihood of cloud cover but it does allow you to find out the duration of totality (how long the sun will be obscured) anywhere along the eclipse's path. Just click anywhere on the map to discover the time of the eclipse at that location, how much of the sun will be obscured and how long the eclipse will last.
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