Total Solar Eclipse to Shadow Parts of Missouri
For nearly 13 minutes on Mon., Aug. 21, 2017, Missourians in a 70-mile swath stretching catty-corner from St. Joseph in the Northeast to Cape Girardeau in the Southeast will witness the totality of the moon obscuring the sun, otherwise referred to as a total solar eclipse. Totality will last anywhere from a few seconds to 2:39 depending upon a viewer’s specific location. During that time, darkness will fall, temperatures may drop 10-15 degrees, breezes may vanish, insects will come out, stars and planets will be visible, and if one lives on a farm, the animals may head toward the barn.
This will be the first total solar eclipse to touch the United State since 1991 when one occurred in Hawaii, and the first coast-to-coast across the southern U.S. since 1918. The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in Missouri was 1442, 50 years before Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. St. Louisans can expect the next one in 2505.
Eclipse-chasers from around the world are expected to converge in St. Louis and the areas beyond as about half of both Kansas City and St. Louis lie within the patch of totality. Consider that more than 43 million people live in large metro areas outside of the totality path where St. Louis is the closest large city, making St. Louis a main destination. Hotel rooms will be at a premium during the period and travelers are encouraged to book their accommodations and travel plans in advance to ensure the best possible experience.
Viewers in St. Louis are recommended to head to parks south and southwest of the city. One notable fact is that Jefferson City is one of only four U.S. state capitals located in the totality path. The others include Salem, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; and Columbia, South Carolina.
The moon’s shadow that day will cross through 10 states, making landfall in Oregon at 10:15 a.m. (PST). The shadow will then cross through Idaho, Wyoming and the northeastern part of Kansas before entering northwest Missouri at 1:06 p.m. (CST) and crossing into Illinois approximately 13 minutes later. From Illinois, the shadow will pass through Kentucky, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, before heading out to sea where it will depart the earth’s surface near Africa 75 minutes after leaving the U.S.
Eclipse festivities are being planned in many Missouri cities including St. Louis (Jefferson Barracks), Potosi, Perryville, DeSoto and Cape Girardeau, to name a few. Visitors to St. Louis can plan a weekend of fun at affordable area attractions as the countdown to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse approaches. Hotels catering to the eclipse chasers will be offering rooms at all price points to accommodate any travelers’ budget needs. Details on many of the St. Louis events planned at parks and other viewing sites in the totality path will be announced in August 2016, one year out from the epic event.
To find the perfect spot viewers can enter their location, even their address, at www.stlouiseclipse2017.org to determine best totality viewing sites. Visitors planning to come to St. Louis for the epic event can even plug in one of the hundreds of hotels and area parks in the vicinity to find a viewing site. Areas not located in the 70-mile-wide totality path will experience the more common partial eclipse; this will include the entire U.S. continent, Canada and the Arctic Circle.
Whether in the partial or totality paths, everyone must use eclipse eyeglasses to prevent damage to their eyes. If located in the totality path, viewers may remove their solar glasses once the sun is completely obscured by the moon. Telescopes will not be needed – once in totality, this extremely rare phenom is best viewed with the naked eye. Within this zone of totality, also referred to as the umbra, Bailey’s Beads – bits of sunlight peaking through the valleys on the lunar surface – may be seen.
While the moon’s shadow will caress U.S. soil for a mere 1 hour 33 minutes, front-row seats in St. Louis to nature’s greatest show on earth are still available.
A sampling of Missouri cities and corresponding totality times:
St. Joseph (2:38)
Kansas City (1:14)
Jefferson City (2:28)
Cape Girardeau (1:40)