by Sharon Rondeau

(Aug. 21, 2017) — On Monday afternoon, the sun will be fully obscured by the moon in a rare occurrence known as a “solar eclipse” from Lincoln City, OR to Charleston, SC, as reported by NASA.

Points farther away from that trajectory, which is called the “path of totality,” will experience partial rather than complete darkness.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the last “total” solar eclipse was in February 1979; however, NASA states that the most recent occurrence was in 1991.

When the sun is completely covered by the moon, the solar corona will be the only visible part of the sun.

At the time of this writing, shortly after 8:00 a.m. EDT, there remains just over five hours until the total eclipse commences in Oregon.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is having a special viewing event on Monday for which tickets are required.  The section of the park known as Clingmans Dome Road is closed to tourists and normal traffic through Monday night.

It is a safety hazard to look directly into the sun at any time, and to view the eclipse, NASA recommends “special-purpose solar filters,” also called “eclipse glasses” sold by the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

According to the National Weather Service, the state of Missouri will experience partial or total darkness, depending on the location. Some cities will experience more than 90% “obscuration” but not fall within the path of totality.


Dozens of events are planned throughout the country for Monday to observe the eclipse.  The Oregon State Fairgrounds expect to be in total darkness for “close to two minutes” beginning at 10:18 a.m. PDT.  According to NOAA, the “viewable percentage” will be 44% there.

Weather forecasts by zip code are available at weather.govClouds will make the eclipse more difficult to observe.

In New York City, the viewable percentage is expected to be 65.9%, but obscuration will be only 71.3%.


The entire event will span about 90 minutes, NOAA reports.

Twitter and NASA are providing live coverage of the eclipse.  Some NASA sites have already begun live video as of 9:24 a.m. EDT in coordination with the National Park Service (NPS).


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  1. Can snapping pictures damage iPhone and camera lenses?


    [The best thing to do with a smartphone is attach ISO-certified sun viewing glasses to the phone and snap your photos.]

    [However, snapping a photo of the eclipse can cause major damage to your phones if you have any sort of zoom lens attached to your phone. You will need a special protective filter so you don’t damage your camera sensor.]