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Thread: Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 - Is the max in Illinois or is it in Kentucky?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 - Is the max in Illinois or is it in Kentucky?

    NASA states that the "greatest eclipse" is located near Hopkinsville Kentucky. USNO or the United States Naval Observatory has the "maximum duration" near Carbondale Illinois (in the Shawnee National Forest).

    NASA says the "greatest duration" of darkness will last for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. USNO has the maximum duration at 2 minutes and 44 seconds.

    With everything I have told you so far, which location would you choose? I could say more, but I am curious to learn what your reaction is in you having a choice. Again, NASA and USNO are both funded by the federal government and each have given you a different location to go to for the longest period of darkness! Will your destination be Illinois or will it be in Kentucky to see longest duration?

    A better question is why are there two locations? Why can't these government agencies get together and come up with ONE geographical location for August 21, 2017 (which, by the way, is on a Monday)?

    NASA's eclipse information can be found here while USNO's eclipse information can be found here . These links only pertain to the upcoming eclipse of August 21, 2017.
    Last edited by firstmagnitude; 2014-Feb-08 at 08:12 PM. Reason: The two responses on the subject are on a tangent to what I am asking.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Central Virginia
    I've been lucky enough to witness 3 total solar eclipses in my life time, 1970, 1991, 1998. Was very fortunate to have clear skies in each case. In choosing the upcoming 2017 location for optimal overall observation I'd focus upon one crucial variable - the weather forecast

    Edited to add...

    Since I live in Virginia my plans are to head south to SC, perhaps the Charleston area. My main concern is hurricanes in August so timing is everything, may have to take a more westerly course of action. Happy Viewing!
    Last edited by Spacedude; 2014-Feb-08 at 04:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Longmont, CO
    I'll be road tripping to go see it, without a doubt, but as Spacedude said, I'll be primarily basing my decision on the weather forecast. I was fortunate enough to catch the annular eclipse that occurred in May 2012 from the southern end of Cedar City, UT, where the conditions were near perfect (and I was only a couple of miles off the centerline of the eclipse). For this one, I'll probably be looking at the stretch from about Idaho to around St Louis, and where I go within that region will mostly depend on the predicted weather. Hopefully somewhere in there will have a near-100% chance of cloudlessness based on the forecast a couple of days out. I'd rather see 2:20 of totality in clear skies than 2:40 of darkness while the sun is hidden behind a cloud...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Perthshire, UK

    I'll have to grab this opportunity to plug a unique project being organised by a couple of guys I know - The 2017 Eclipse Mega-Movie. The idea is to get as many observers taking images along the track of the eclipse as possible, and then stitch these into a movie of the whole sequence. It should end up with a time-lapsed view of the eclipse, lasting over 90 minutes, and hopefully showing changes in the corona, prominences, etc. etc. as well as lots of other useful, and scientifically valuable data.

    I'm already planning a trip to the US to take part, and I'm sure the interest will be building over the next couple of years for what is a real once-in-a-lifetime eclipse opportunity!!

    All participants welcome... :-)

    Days spent at sea are not deducted from one's alloted span...
    (Phoenician proverb)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Fresno, CA
    Here are some additional resources for the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse beyond the NASA eclipse pages:

    Excellent and detailed maps at
    Weather prospects along the eclipse track courtesy of Jay Anderson, Univ. of Manitoba: and
    (Madras, Oregon--my planned destination--has historically the best weather prospects along the eclipse track)
    An overview website that includes links to the previous ones I listed:

    Two interesting facts about this eclipse:
    -- The central line passes right over the runway of the airport in Jackson Hole, WY. Here is the Jackson Hole Astronomy Club's webpage about the eclipse:
    -- As best I can tell, this is the only solar eclipse in history 5000 years from today that passes over the sites of two cities with the same name: Columbia, MO, and Columbia, SC.

    This will be my first total solar eclipse (I have seen several partials and I observed an imaged the May 20, 2012 annular solar eclipse from Whistkeytown Reservoir west of Redding CA.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    NASA.pngMy question has been answered by NASA: they have taken the solar eclipse webpage down and redirecting everybody -- Eclipse information is available from the The US Naval Observatory (USNO).
    Last edited by firstmagnitude; 2014-Feb-14 at 02:57 PM. Reason: needed a picture and a grammatical correction

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