MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A total solar eclipse is slated to occur later this summer, but no one standing in Minnesota or Wisconsin will be able to see it in its totality.
Forecasters say the eclipse will happen the afternoon of Aug. 21, with the moon’s 70-mile-wide shadow tracing across the United States, from Salem, Oregon in the Northwest, through Kansas City in the Great Plains and down to Charleston, South Carolina on the East Coast.
NASA’s 2017 Eclipse App
Not since 1970 have so many Americans had the chance to see a total solar eclipse, says J. Kelly Beatty, of Sky and Telescope Magazine.
About 12 million people live directly under the eclipse path, and 220 million people are within a day’s drive.
From Minneapolis to Lincoln, Nebraska, which is on the northern edge of the eclipse path, it’s about a 6-hour drive.
Those unable to venture from the Upper Midwest will still see a partial eclipse, with a little more than 80 percent of the sun obscured. Peak viewing time will be at 1:06 p.m.
Safety note: Those planning to look at the partial eclipse in Minnesota should do so only with special eyewear, or risk injury.
However, those who travel to view the total eclipse won’t need to use protection during the event. Totality will last about 2 minutes.
Those planning a trip will want to make a weekend of it. Several states are anticipating traffic jams ahead of the eclipse, and some are even halting construction projects during the day.
Total eclipses are not rare phenomenon – they occur about every 18 years. But since most of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, they’re not always seen by many people.
The total eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the sun and the Earth, blocking out the view of the sun. This complete block-out is possible because the moon is about 400 times smaller than the sun, and it’s also the same magnitude of difference away.
When the eclipse happens in August, it’ll take about 90 minutes to travel over North America. The moon’s shadow will cruise over the United States at about 2,400 mph.
After this summer’s event, the next total eclipse is forecasted to happened in April of 2024.