back to article Darkness to fall over North America from a total solar eclipse

America will witness, for the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse stretching from coast to coast on August 21. The Sun, Moon and Earth will sit perfectly in a line. The Moon will block out the Sun, making the solar corona, a crown of hot plasma, visible. A shadow of darkness will be cast over the Earth in a 70-mile ( …

  1. Dunstan Vavasour

    Be interesting to see how the power grid copes with the sudden drop of solar followed by its sudden reappearance (sudden in generation timescales).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean like when clouds pass overhead?

      1. SkippyBing

        'You mean like when clouds pass overhead?'

        To be fair to the OP, I don't think clouds will suddenly cut off the supply of light to quite such a large area as a solar eclipse, and then let it back.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The solar eclipse happens over several minutes, and affects a pretty narrow band of the US. It isn't like someone is suddenly switching the Sun off for the whole United States.

    2. Ken Mitchell

      You mean, like "Clouds"?

      The Sun frequently disappears - at night and behind clouds, for example. The power grid won't have any problems handling it. Especially since the eclipse only lasts for 2 minutes 40 seconds, tops.

  2. harmjschoonhoven

    To add insult to injury, observations have shown that the winds also slacken during a solar eclipse.

    Mine is the one with an UPS in the left and right pocket.

  3. Blake St. Claire

    Darkness fell over America in November

    It hasn't gotten any lighter.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Darkness fell over America in November

      Is this the second sign of the coming of the apocalypse?

    2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      Re: Darkness fell over America in November

      Has Snowflake claimed the eclipse as his idea yet?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Darkness fell over America in November

        "It's gonna be the biggest eclipse, the best eclipse. It'll be yuuge."

        And in the Kentucky backwoods they'll be beating the drums and yelling at the sky to scare the great wolf into disgorging the sun.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Darkness fell over America in November

          That path seems to incorporate much of the Bible Belt. Get the popcorn ready.

          1. John G Imrie

            Re: Darkness fell over America in November

            It's the end of the World

    3. hplasm

      Re: Darkness fell over America in November

      Half the population will probably hail the Rapture.

      What a disappointment for them...

      1. breakfast
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Darkness fell over America in November

        Practically, kind of a disappointment for everyone else too. Imagine what a wonderful world one could make if all the religious nutjobs suddenly vanished into the sky.

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Darkness fell over America in November

          As it is, it will be a day out for all the different crazies. End times lot waiting for ,the rapture', hippies doing their shamanistic dances, a quick two minute snack for the vampires and so on.

    4. NukEvil

      Re: Darkness fell over America in November

      Most of the UK hasn't seen sunshine since forever. So, how are you coping with all those terrorist attacks in your "great" country? How many more of your people have to die before common sense takes hold and you kick those "refugees" out of your country? Do you enjoy being arrested for posting a "mean" Tweet? How do you feel for bringing politics into a place where it obviously doesn't belong?

      Right, tit.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Darkness fell over America in November

        It's a lot better having to cope with a few lone nutters than an efficient and organised group funded and armed by the Americans - thank you.

        Ps how is today's school shooting? Have you ever thought of kicking all the white people out ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Darkness fell over America in November

          Trust the British to turn an article about a wondrous astronomical event into a series of bigoted insults directed at a whole country. It happens daily here, and you bros all cheer each other when it does.

          Many of us non-bigoted have pointed this out again and again. Do any of you blush sheepishly and feel any regret? Hell no, you down-vote us for pointing out your intolerance and ignorance.

          Britain has no moral high ground to insult the US from, and certainly has worse manners.

      2. hplasm

        Re: Darkness fell over America in November

        "Right tit."

        I like your signature.

  4. Herby

    You should have booked your stay by now...

    And hopefully sometime last year. Most lodging facilities are double (at least) price in the path of totality, and by now are all reserved.

    Me? Thankfully my sister has a beach house on the Oregon coast, right in the path. I'll be there. Last time (1979) her house on the Columbia River basin was right in line as well. I must have good karma.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: You should have booked your stay by now...

      El Reg eclipse party at your sister's place then? Cool. ;)

    2. Sporkinum

      Re: You should have booked your stay by now...

      Tried to book a hotel in my dad's hometown in Illinois back in February. They were all booked back then. As a matter of fact. My dad is having his high school class reunion this year and it was originally scheduled the same day. They bumped it a week later due to no rooms available. The lady in charge said the had been booked a year in advance. I will be making a day trip to drive down state, 4 hours and about 220 miles.

      Chester, Illinois, home of Popeye.

    3. Hollerithevo

      Re: You should have booked your stay by now...

      Annie Dillard saw that eclipse in 1979 and wrote an essay about it, in 'Teaching a Stone to talk'.

      Some uni has kindly put it online:

  5. frank ly

    That diagram

    Can you change it to show an eclipse over America and not Africa?

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

      Re: That diagram

      Given the readership of El Reg, the inclusion of a diagram showing what an eclipse is seems a bit unnecessary. A map showing the area for this specific eclipse would have been far more appropriate

    2. Borg.King

      Re: That diagram

      Plus find an earth graphic that has the moon orbiting around the equator, and not over each of the poles.

  6. Ken Mitchell

    As Yoda said, "There is another...."

    There will be another major solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 twice the duration of this one.

    The path of totality starts in the Pacific, crosses Mexico, into Texas, and north into Canada.

    If you live near Carbondale, IL, you're in the path for BOTH eclipses!

    1. fsmcleod

      Re: As Yoda said, "There is another...."

      I just checked out the path for the 2024 eclipse. Niagara falls will be within the zone of totality - would be a spectacular place to see it so book your rooms now

      1. wayne 8

        Re: As Yoda said, "There is another...."

        Still Niagara Falls. Do you work for the local tourism council?

    2. Roj Blake

      Re: As Yoda said, "There is another...."

      You wait a century for an eclipse, and then two come along at once...

  7. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    'Snot fair

    Why do the Merkins get all the good eclipses? And of course most of us won't be able to see them, for various reasons.

    Could we ask that nice Mrs May to include something in the wonderful forthcoming US-UK trade agreement to make the USians share their 2024 eclipse,and extend it to include the UK?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: 'Snot fair

      Could we ask that nice Mrs May to include something in the wonderful forthcoming US-UK trade agreement to make the USians share their 2024 eclipse,

      I think she'll be experiencing a very personal eclipse much sooner than that.

      1. breakfast
        Thumb Down

        Re: 'Snot fair

        I don't like the idea of a personal eclipse from May. The last thing I want is her moon all over the sun.

    2. Fortycoats

      Re: 'Snot fair

      Maybe they can put that in the deal with the DUP - move the eclipse to the UK. The DUP claim to have a direct line to the man upstairs, don't they?

    3. hplasm

      Re: 'Snot fair

      The US already keep us in the dark!

    4. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      "extend it to include the UK?"

      If so, I can confidently predict your weather for that day...

    5. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: 'Snot fair

      Why do the Merkins get all the good eclipses?

      They don't, this is the first they're getting in a century. I was at the 2006 eclipse in Libya, which occurred after Libya had stopped being a political pariah state but before it had collapsed into anarchy. Great fun except for the lack of booze.

      If anybody wants an obscure pub quiz question: "when did a four hour traffic jam happen in the middle of nowhere in the Sahara".

  8. Lamb0

    My home town...

    is in the path of totality, though a bit on the edge. However, I'll be volunteering with a few of my fellow amateur astronomers at the:

    Homestead National Monument of America

    We're only 4 seconds shy of the central path; ~ 2 minutes 31 seconds of totality for us. We expecting maybe 8,000 people... but Gage County bought 20,000 "observing glasses".

    I'll be projecting an image of the eclipse on a white-board with my home-brew 8" f/5 Newtonian in a Dobson style mount with a 2" 30mm eyepiece. Totality will be very near Zenith and the 2.5° True Field of View is sufficient to let the eclipse drift though during totality without touching the undriven mount.

    Other can take take pictures and videos... but I plan to enjoy totality and such sights as the "Diamond Ring" and the "String of Pearls" with a pair of Mark 1 Eyeballs for the FIRST time!

    1. ICPurvis47

      Re: My home town...

      Last time I saw a total eclipse was in August 1999. We were on our way on holiday to Switzerland by car and planned our route to be just south of Metz in France at the critical time. Of course, it was raining heavily, with 10/10ths cloud cover, but as the French authorities imposed a standstill on the Autoroutes for the duration, we were in an Aire (a sort of glorified layby, but not a service stop). We couldn't see a thing until, magically, the clouds parted and we had a glorious view of the Solar Corona. A huge cheer went up from all the assembled multitude, a thousand cameras flashed (why?), and then the clouds closed up again and darkness once again ruled. We didn't get to see Bailey's Beads or the Diamond Ring effects, but it was a truly magnificent spectacle.

      1. DJV Silver badge


        I remember seeing a TV programme (probably an edition of the Sky at Night) where Patrick Moore and others were viewing an eclipse from a plane. He had a great few moments shouting "Turn off your flashes" to all the idiots onboard!

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: My home town...

        "a thousand cameras flashed (why?)"

        Because the vast majority of people who take photos are basic "point'n'shooters" and have everything set to full auto. Phone users in particular will most likely have the flash set to "On" rather than "Auto" or "Off" so they are always ready for that quick snap. Then they wonder why the battery doesn't last long :-)

        1. EddieD

          Re: My home town...

          "Phone users in particular will...."

          Phone users in 1999 didn't have cameras in their phones....

          Other than that I agree with you - when I go to fireworks display the amount of puny flashguns trying to light up the light is ludicrous...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What's the bet Donald Trump blames the Solar Eclipse on North Korea ? ;-)

    1. JJKing

      Re: Hmm..

      No, it would have to be Obama and he probably wired--------------tapped it as well.

  10. Yamas

    It's going to be beautiful

    "We are going to have a Total Solar Eclipse, it's going to be beautiful, the most beautiful eclipse ever. I went to see the people of the total Solar, they are good people, they love America, we love America, so I told them we could strike a deal, to have the perfect total solar eclipse, and we agreed. I promise you this his going to be the covfefest total solar eclipse over our beautiful America". Make America eclipse again!

  11. John 104

    Can't Wait

    We'll be watching in Madras, OR. Supposedly the best location weather wise in the nation to watch. We had already planned to take time there this summer so this was a bonus. Getting lodging was a huge obstacle. However, we lucked into a rental to the south, about an hour away.

    There will be an estimated 70k people converging on a town of a few thousand. They've opened the airports for camping, parking lots, you name it. Should be a proper mess. :)

    Staying for the week after will allow us to ride some of the best mountain bike trails in the US and drink some of the best beer in the word.

    And for fucks sake, can't we keep politics out of at least one commentard section?

  12. wayne 8

    NASA interested in the Sun

    "NASA has been interested in discovering the close relationship between the Sun and Earth for a while."

    They have been concentrating a lot on carbon dioxide lately.

  13. Hans 1
    Paris Hilton

    From Donald Central

    DT: What, tell me, what is an eclipse.

    Aid: Well, Mr president, it is the moon getting between earth and the sun, so it will be somewhat darker for a few minutes.

    DT: Ohh, come on, those scientists just want more money, naaah, that is fake news. Which agency came up with this folly ?

    Aid: NASA, sir.

    DT: Ok, now, we'll cut their budget by 95% to teach these overpaid idiots.

    Aid: sir, you cannot be serious ?

    DT: You question the president ? Fired! Security, escort this intruder, NOW!

    We need a Donald icon ... using Paris though I think it is unfair, Paris has two working brain cells ...

  14. Stevie Silver badge


    Here in New York, no real Space Shuttle, No total eclipse of the sun.

    8op 8ob 8op


  15. Joe H.

    I remember 1979...

    ...and being a 12 year old wanna be astronomer with a telescope and everything, living in Florida and asking my parents a few months before the February '79 solar eclipse if we could travel to Oregon to see the total solar eclipse.

    They both looked at me and said "no" at the same time. There hasn't been any other opportunity for me to see a solar eclipse since then until now.

    I still live in Florida and will be taking my wife and boys to see the 2017 eclipse in Nebraska. I booked the hotel last April, and the plane flights this March.

    At first they didn't want to go, and I think they still are wary, but we are going anyway. After 38 years of waiting, it is the last thing on my astronomy bucket list, I've even seen one of the two recent transits of Venus, and the most recent transit of Mercury. Some astronomers live their whole lives without seeing a transit of Venus. Solar eclipse or bust!

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