See What The August Eclipse Will Look Like … From Anywhere

At the Vox website, a zip code gives all the basic information you need about to expect to see during the eclipse from wherever you live. This is a partial screen grab from the site with information on duration, percent of sun covered and an animation for Duluth, Minn. Credit: Vox

There’s so much out there about the August 21 total solar eclipse, it’s like swimming through mud trying to find simple, essential information. But let’s give it a try. Lots of us want to know how much of the sun will be covered from wherever we might happen to be that day. Except for the narrow path of totality, the eclipse will be partial for the entire North American continent.

The blue “snake” shows where the eclipse will be total, and the green “web” where it will be partial. Greatest eclipse is the location where totality is longest: 2 minutes and 41 seconds. Credit: F. Espenak, NASA’s GFSC

I’ve found the interactive Vox Solar Eclipse site one of the easiest when it comes to finding out the time, total amount of sun covered and general appearance of the partially or fully eclipsed sun. It runs on zip codes. Click on the link and you’ll get an instant eclipse summary for your zip code. That includes an animation and how many miles and what direction you’ll need to travel to see the total eclipse. One click, that’s it. If you want the same information for another zip code, click inside the yellow box and type in the 5-digit number. Don’t know a zip code you’d like to check out? Click on the Zip Code finder and select the city from the interactive map.

This is a section of the NASA/Google interactive map showing the details for Springfield, Ill. The path of totality is shown between the purple lines. Credit: NASA/Google

My other favorite resource is NASA’s Google interactive map. It features the eclipse path and detailed information about the start, middle and end times for the eclipse as well as how much of the sun will be obscured by the moon. Click and then scroll-zoom until you find your town of interest, then click on it for the information. Times are given in UT or Universal Time. Subtract 4 hours from that number for Eastern Daylight Time; 5 for Central; 6 for Mountain and 7 for Pacific.

Still another shows the changing appearance of the sun state by state.

You might wonder how much of the sun has to be covered for you to notice it’s getting darker outside? Surprisingly more than you might think. Around 90% is when the daylight starts to dim and the sky turns a darker shade of blue. From 95% on, it’s obvious and eerie, like no other daylight you’ve ever witnessed.

I hope these will be helpful. Look forward to more brief articles as we get closer to the eclipse.

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