Just after 10 a.m. Monday morning off the coast of Oregon the temperature dropped, shadows sharpened and the morning eerily turned to night. The sky filled with stars and planets. An unusual sunset glowed from the horizon in every direction.
The total solar eclipse awed onlookers as it swept across America. People within a narrow 70-mile wide band witnessed totality, while the entire country was treated to a partial eclipse.
Clear skies in Oregon set into motion a nationwide viewing event that had millions of Americans erupting into cheers or falling into stunned silence as the moon slipped in front of the sun. Social media sites erupted with photos, videos and audio.
Traffic crept along as people parked along highways and overflowed campgrounds and festivals. The Oregon Department of Transportation estimated 1 million visitors descended on the state.
If eclipse mania stoked any newfound fans they won’t have to wait too long for the next one. A total solar eclipse will travel from Texas to Maine on April 8, 2024.
3 p.m. If you were stuck inside or blocked by clouds today don’t fret. You can watch NOVA’s Eclipse Over America, tonight at 9 p.m. on KQED 9 and streaming online.
NOVA investigates the storied history of solar eclipse science and joins both seasoned and citizen-scientists alike as they don their eclipse glasses and tune their telescopes for the eclipse over America.
2:35 p.m. The first people to see this morning’s eclipse…
NASA astronaut Michael Barratt had his camera ready on board Alaska Airlines Flight 9671 this morning . The aircraft was destined out over the Pacific Ocean for the first glimpse of the total solar eclipse. Along with 100 other passengers, he pointed his camera out a round window as the moon slid in front of the sun. He had crafted a filter using a Chex cereal box.
KQED’s Lindsey Hoshaw was on the same flight with journalists, scientists, eclipse chasers and contest winners who cheered and even swore aloud when the sky darkened.
Totality, Hoshaw said, was magical from mid-air.
“It felt like something out of a movie,” she said. “It was really inspiring to be around people who were so excited, who traveled all the way across the country to see something for two minutes.”
1:15 p.m. ‘The sky turned inside out’
Those who have chased eclipses around the world often speak of the transformative experience of totality. But KQED’s Danielle Venton says that researchers at the Lost River Field Station in Mackay, Idaho found today’s solar eclipse particularly special.
“Maybe because the sun was high in the sky and the air was pretty clear up there,” Venton said. “The corona was strongly visible.”
There were three “filaments” of solar wind visible to the scientists, who will be combing through the data they collected for months to come.
“Just with the naked eye we were able to see what looked like some coronal streamers, these long streaks of solar material coming away from the solar disk,” said Joseph Hutton, a researcher from Wales. “And maybe a few prominences, which showed up bright pink against the disk of the moon.”
Even hours after what she called an astounding experience, Venton was exhilarated.
“What was interesting was how the light changed,” she said. “It kind of felt more like moonlight. Shadows were especially vivid. There was this general feeling of euphoria, this wave of ‘Oh my god’s’ and gasps and cheering.”
She says that when totality blanketed the Lost River Field Station, the sky turned dark where it was once blue, while the horizon glowed.
“It felt like the sky turned inside out,” she says.
12:42 p.m. KQED’s Lindsey Hoshaw captured the total solar eclipse from midair off the coast of Oregon on Alaska Airlines Flight 9671.
— Lindsey Hoshaw (@lindseyhoshaw) August 21, 2017
And then there’s this crew on Mt. Tamalpais:
— KQED (@KQED) August 21, 2017
11:55 a.m. The Casper Star-Tribune has a collection of the best photos from today’s total solar eclipse here.
11:50 a.m. And just like that, totality has left American soil. Here’s a view of the total solar eclipse from Charleston, South Carolina.
— 🔴Channel 1 Atlanta (@channel1atlanta) August 21, 2017
11:20 a.m. This is what totality sounds like …
Some gasp, some cheer, some sigh. And some sit silently in stunned awe. Listen to the exact moment eclipse viewers in Mackay, Idaho watched the sun disappear behind the moon and the sky go dark.
Update 10:40 a.m. This is totality. The Exploratorium just shared this capture of their telescope stream from Madras, Oregon. Up next: Casper, Wyoming.
— Exploratorium (@exploratorium) August 21, 2017
Update 10:40 a.m. Schedule alert
11:46 a.m Peak in Charleston, South Carolina
Update 10:20 a.m. The 75 percent partial eclipse shone through wispy fog as it peaked in the Bay Area at 10:15 a.m.
Update 9:45 a.m. KQED’s Danielle Venton reports cheering and applause as the moon edges in front of the sun at the Lost River Field Station in Idaho.
— Danielle Venton (@DanielleVenton) August 21, 2017
Update 9:40 a.m. Bay Area social media is currently cursing @KarlTheFog as the sun peeks in and out of view in San Francisco. The skies could clear for the end of the eclipse, but the East Bay will be the best bet for the 10:15 partial solar eclipse peak.
My view: 🌕🌖🌗🌘🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕
Your view: ☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️🌔🌕
— Karl the Fog ☁️ (@KarlTheFog) August 21, 2017
Update 9:30 a.m. Oregon officials have warned that parking on the side of the road is illegal. This is the view of U.S. Highway 97 north of Redmond at 9:21 a.m.
Update 9 a.m. Madras, Oregon live stream begins
San Francisco’s Exploratorium scientists are standing by, ready to begin a live telescope stream of the solar eclipse in Madras, Oregon.
The moon is about to start eclipsing the sun right now for West Coast viewers. Totality in Madras hits at 10:19 a.m. Watch it live here:
Just fine tuning the telescopes until show time. Lookin' good 🌞 pic.twitter.com/TK1jlPHUwY
— Exploratorium (@exploratorium) August 21, 2017
Keep an eye on the NASA live stream, as well.
Update 8:45 a.m. We’ve got you covered for last minute eclipse plans. Weather forecasts give the East Bay the best shot at clear skies for the peak of the partial eclipse. Museums and libraries around the Bay Area are offering public viewing events, and many are giving away coveted free eclipse glasses. Check out a list of local eclipse viewing events here.
Update 8 a.m. How exactly do scientists practice for a solar eclipse? KQED’s Danielle Venton has this report from a remote solar science outpost in Mackay Idaho. Also in this morning’s newscast, KQED’s Kat Snow catches up with Californians chasing the eclipse in Oregon.
Traffic update, 7:45 a.m. The Oregon Department of Transportation is reporting heavy traffic north of Redmond on U.S. Highway 97. Delays could reach two hours. In Wyoming, Interstate 25 came to a halt early this morning and officials advise travelers to use alternates routes.
Eclipse day traffic begins to stack up; skies clear in downtown Casper https://t.co/KdJJevqGMF
— Casper Star-Tribune (@CSTribune) August 21, 2017
Update 7:35 a.m. Eclipse chasers spent the weekend packing into fields, festivals and campgrounds, anxiously awaiting this morning’s totality.
Update 7:20 a.m. Didn’t get glasses in time? Don’t be like this guy.
Remember, DON’T look at the sun, except during totality, which the Bay Area will not experience. Check out this video on how to make a pinhole viewer from a cereal box.
Update 7 a.m.: Welcome to our live coverage of the total solar eclipse. Stay tuned all morning for photos, reactions, news and updates from reporters in the path of totality.
Morning weather update: Skies are forecast to remain clear in the path of totality in Oregon, while Idaho and Wyoming may have some patchy haze, according to the National Weather Service. Some cloud cover is gathering around the eclipse path in Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois and Iowa. In the Bay Area, low cloud cover may obscure the beginning of the partial eclipse, but skies are expected to clear mid- morning around peak viewing time.
For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States from coast to coast. More than 200 million Americans live within driving distance of the path of the total eclipse, called the path of totality.
From Oregon to South Carolina, cities and towns that lie within this narrow band are preparing for traffic jams and huge crowds, as millions gather to witness the phenomenon.
Those outside the path of totality will see a partial eclipse. The Bay Area will experience a 75 percent partial solar eclipse, peaking at 10:15 a.m.
Here are the most important things you need to know this morning:
- The entirety of the eclipse on American soil will last about two-and-a-half hours, with totality stretching from Oregon at 10:16 a.m. to Charleston, South Carolina at 11:47 a.m. PDT. Totality lasts about two minutes at each location.
- Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, casting a shadow and blocking out the sun momentarily. Check out an animated view of an eclipse from outer space here.
- Looking at the partially eclipsed or uneclipsed sun even for a moment can permanently damage your eyes. Watch a video on how to safely watch the eclipse here.
- Solar eclipses aren’t rare in general — they happen every 18 months somewhere in the world. But if you stayed in one place, you’d wait 300 years on average to see one.
- Keep an eye on the NASA live stream at the bottom of this page to watch the eclipse.