Oregon has caught its first glimpse of the celestial event-of-a-lifetime, as it begins to sweep across the US.
The total solar eclipse began in Oregon at just after 10am PDT where the moon is slowly making its way across the sun, blocking it completely within a few minutes. It will then travel from coast to coast over the next 90 minutes, ending just before 3pm EDT in South Carolina.
While the total solar eclipse, where the moon completely blocks out the sun plunging the area into twilight, while be seen from 14 states, the rest will see at least a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun.
In Oregon, locals ran out of their homes, with eclipse glasses or homemade contraptions in hand, to watch the moon fully cover the sun, blotting out all but the halo-like solar corona.
Oregon has caught its first glimpse of the celestial event-of-a-lifetime, as it begins to sweep across the US
The total solar eclipse began in Oregon at just after 10am PDT where the moon is slowly making its way across the sun, blocking it completely within a few minutes
Schweta Kulkarni, from left, Rhea Kulkarni and Saanvi Kulkarni, from Seattle, try out their eclipse glasses as the celestial event begins in Salem, Oregon
Lee Cooper, from England, wears his protective glasses to watch the beginning of the solar eclipse from Salem, Oregon
Jonathan Moric, left, and Finn Power, both of Vancouver, lie back, to watch the eclipse in a park in Salem, Oregon
A crowd wears protective glasses as they watch the beginning of the solar eclipse from Salem, Oregon on Monday
Griffin O’Roak uses a homemade eclipse viewer to watch the sun at a gathering of eclipse viewers in Oregon on Monday
Catalina Gaitan, from Portland, Oregon tries to shoot a photo of the rising sun through her eclipse glasses at a gathering of eclipse viewers in Salem
Millions had descended on the state to catch a glimpse of the extraordinary event including festival goers to the Oregon Eclipse Festival at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon’s Ochoco National Forest – a seven day international gathering celebrating the total solar eclipse.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) had warned drivers that the eclipse could cause some of the worst traffic jams in the state’s history. And traffic along many roads did grind to a halt this morning as many traveled to the state’s national parks to try and get an unobscured view of the natural phenomena.
Don Hamilton with ODOT said ‘there may be a million people who descend on the state for the eclipse, especially in the 60-mile path of totality that spans the state from west to east,’ KRON reported.
The total eclipse of the sun is considered one of the most spell-binding phenomena in nature but it rarely occurs over a wide swath of land, let alone one of the world’s most heavily populated countries at the height of summer.
In terms of audience potential, it is hard to top the United States, with its mobile and affluent population, even though the direct path is mostly over rural areas, towns and small cities. The largest is Nashville, Tennessee, a city of 609,000 residents.
Even so the advent of social media and inexpensive high-tech optics have boosted public awareness, assuring what many U.S. experts predict will be unprecedented viewership for the so-called ‘Great American Eclipse.’
The lunar shadow of the total solar eclipse on Monday will enter the United States near Lincoln City, Oregon at 9.05am (PST) and totality begins at 10.18am (PST). The eclipse will end in Charleston, South Carolina at 2.48pm (EST), and the lunar shadow leaves the country at 4.09pm (EST)
The eclipse will begin on the West Coast in Oregon at 10.19am (PST) and make its way across the country to South Carolina at 2.41pm (EST)
People living in the northwest part of the country will have a 100 per cent chance of seeing the solar eclipse on Monday while those living on the northeast only have a 50 per cent chance
A man holds up special solar glasses after getting them outside the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum on the National Mall before the eclipse moves across to Washington, DC
People wait in line to buy viewing glasses for the eclipse at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles early Monday
Mike Newchurch, left, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and graduate student Paula Tucker prepare a weather balloon before releasing it to perform research during the solar eclipse Monday on the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Members of the Marching Salukis enter Saluki Stadium for eclipse festivities on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Monday
People attend a solar eclipse watch party at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Rabun Gap, Georgia,
Virginia Webb arrives to watch the solar eclipse at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Rabun Gap, Georgia
Not all the hoopla will unfold on dry land. Welsh pop singer Bonnie Tyler is slated to perform her 1983s hit single ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ aboard a cruise liner as the vessel sails into the path of totality from Florida on Monday.
Back on the ground, forest rangers, police and city managers in the total eclipse zone are bracing for a crush of travelers they fear will cause epic traffic jams and heighten wildfire hazards.
‘Imagine 20 Woodstock festivals occurring simultaneously across the nation,’ Michael Zeiler, an AAS advisory panel member wrote on his website, GreatAmericanEclipse.com, referring to the famously chaotic 1969 outdoor rock extravaganza in upstate New York.
Zeiler, an avowed ‘eclipse chaser’ who made the 650-mile drive from his New Mexico home to Wyoming for a choice view, said South Carolina is likely to see the greatest influx as the destination state closest to the entire U.S. Eastern seaboard.
Today’s event will be the first total solar eclipse spanning the entire continental United States since 1918 and the first visible anywhere in the Lower 48 states in 38 years.
People set up cameras and telescopes as they prepare to watch the total eclipse at South Mike Sedar Park on August 21, 2017 in Casper, Wyoming. Millions of people have flocked to areas of the U.S. that are in the ‘path of totality’ in order to experience a total solar eclipse
Jim Cleveland, of Shelbyville, Ky., sets up a camera at his campsite at sunrise as he prepares for the solar eclipse Monday, August 21, 2017, on the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Rain, cloud and fog is forecast today across the Midwest including parts of Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and Wisconsin, obscuring residents’ views of the eclipse
The good news for the rest of the US, which is predicted to have clear and sunny skies by this afternoon, offering a perfect view of the lunar event
Some parts of the southeast will experience scattered storms on Monday during the solar eclipse
Showers are possible for some cities on the East Coast on Monday as it will be sunny in New York City and Boston on Monday
The aerial photo above shows the estimated 30,000 people who have created their own temporary community on the grounds where the festival is being held in Big Summit Festival attendees in Oregon are in one of the perfect spots in the United States to see the rare eclipse on Monday in totality
Festival goers dance at the Oregon Eclipse Festival at Big Summit Prairie ranch in Oregon’s Ochoco National Forest on Sunday near the city of Mitchell ahead of the total solar eclipse on Monday
Newlyweds Candice Archer (left) and Courtney Loechl (right) of Calgary, Canada dance at the Oregon Eclipse Festival
Eclipse mania!: Thousands have flocked to the Burning Man-style Oregon Eclipse Festival, in the state’s Ochoco National Forest. Revelers of the international seven-day gathering are anticipating Monday’s total solar eclipse
The traffic to enter Grand Teton National Park outside of Jackson, Wyoming is heavy as people are flocking to the best eclipse viewing areas around the country on Sunday
RV traffic sits at a standstill along a two-lane road near Madras, Oregon, as thousands flock to the small town to view the eclipse on Monday
Map of the drive time to the center-line of the eclipse, this map does not take into account extremely heavy traffic in areas that are currently seeing swells of revelers
The next one over North America is due in just seven years, in April 2024.
Schools in the path of the eclipse are seizing on ready-made science lesson for students.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN ECLIPSE
During a total solar eclipse, the moon completely blocks the face of the sun, NASA explains.
This reveals the ‘pearly white halo’ of the sun’s corona – its outer atmosphere, which is invisible to the naked eye at all other times.
For this phenomenon to take place, the moon and the sun must be perfectly aligned, allowing the moon to appear as though it’s the exact size of the sun.
A fourth-grade class at a suburban Kansas City school erupted in wonder when they tried on their solar eclipse glasses for the first time and turned toward the sun for an eclipse ‘practice.’
‘The sun looks like the moon!’ ‘It’s really dark!’ ‘There’s just a little circle of light!’ ‘It’s just a speck up there!’
The students at Clardy Elementary School in North Kansas City were practicing the proper use of the glasses Friday in anticipation of Monday’s solar eclipse.
Their teacher, Christy Lister, had gone through slides detailing how and when to wear the glasses, how to care for them and proper behavior during the eclipse.
It was only the third day of the school year, but the students had already talked about eyes, the solar system and other eclipse-related topics.
The district’s teachers and administrators began planning for the big event last May and worked through the summer on age-specific activities for the district’s 20,000 students.
Tattoo artist Chris ‘Lunch Box’ Schirmer (right) gives a customer a tattoo of an eclipse at Sparxworx on August 20, 2017 in Casper, Wyoming
An eclipse t-shirt is seen for sale on a street near the City Market in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday
Eclipse pins are seen for sale on a street near the City Market in Charleston. Many are attending multiday festivals featuring music, yoga and astronomy lectures
New Yorkers are waiting in long lines on Sunday for eclipse glasses. Pictured above is the huge line on Sunday at Adorama Camera Shop in Chelsea
With a sign showing full camp grounds, cars drive into Grand Teton National Park on Saturday
The activities will include kindergartners using beads that react to ultraviolet light from the sun, while others will conduct experiments measuring atmospheric changes during the eclipse or create solar viewers with 3-D printers.
U.S. schools along and near the coast-to-coast path where the sun will be totally blacked out by the moon during the eclipse are taking widely varying approaches.
HOW TO SAFELY WATCH AN ECLIPSE
Experts warn that everyone who plans to look skyward when the solar eclipse sweeps across the country Monday should have the proper protective eyewear or risk lasting blind spots.
Regular sunglasses will not do, the US space agency says.
Only eclipse glasses that have a certification with ‘ISO 12312-2 international standard’ are safe for use, according to NASA.
More than 6,800 libraries across nationwide are distributing safety-certified glasses.
Other options are number 14 welder’s glass, or making a pinhole projector that allows a user to project the image of the Sun on paper or cardboard.
Eye doctors urge strict adult supervision for eclipse watchers under 16 years old.
‘The dangers of looking at the Sun are real and serious,’ said Vincent Jerome Giovinazzo, director of ophthalmology at Staten Island University Hospital, Northwell Health.
‘The damage can really be permanent and right smack in the center of their vision.’
While some districts are seizing the opportunity for ready-made lessons, others are closing for the day or keeping kids inside because of safety concerns.
In Idaho, districts in and around Twin Falls are using the day for science education, while many districts in the eastern part of the state either canceled school or will start the school year a day later.
In Wyoming, the Laramie School District moved the first day of school to Tuesday after the superintendent said he had ‘grossly underestimated’ the event’s significance.
North Kansas City found the educational opportunity irresistible, said Jill Hackett, a deputy superintendent.
‘Students will gain a lot more by watching, discussing what they see with their teachers and other students,’ she said. ‘I think it will be extraordinary.’
Smaller towns expecting huge influxes of visitors have concerns about transportation. The primary worry for many districts is the risk of eye injuries for students who gaze at the sun without properly wearing the right glasses.
Across the country, American Indian tribes are observing the eclipse in similar and not-so-similar ways.
Some tribal members will ignore it, others might watch while praying for an anticipated renewal, and those in prime viewing spots are welcoming visitors with storytelling, food and celebration.
For the Crow Tribe in Montana, the eclipse coincides with the Parade Dance at the annual Crow fair, marking the tribe’s new year.
Many American Indian tribes revere the sun and moon as cultural deities, great sources of power and giver of life.
The Crow’s cultural director, William Big Day, said the sun is believed to die and come back to life during an eclipse.
In more nomadic days, Crows would offer each other ‘good wishes’ for their travels, and elders would advise them to do a cleansing ceremony to start anew, he said.
U.S. Bureau of Indian Education spokeswoman Nedra Darling said the agency’s schools, most of which are on the Navajo Nation, were given the option of closing Monday.
Navajo Nation employees have Monday off, and other schools on and off the reservation that extends into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah earlier decided to close in respect of the culture that teaches that looking at the sun during an eclipse can be harmful not only to one’s eyesight but for overall well-being.
A sign directs visitors to parking areas to view the solar eclipse on Monday in Carbondale, Illinois
A sign welcoming eclipse visitors in Madras, Oregon is pictured as the town is predicted to be one of the best viewing areas for the celestial event
Fourth graders at Clardy Elementary School in Kansas City, Mo. practice the proper use of their eclipse glasses in anticipation of Monday’s solar eclipse.
Colton Hammer tries out his new eclipse glasses he just bought from the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City in preparation for the eclipse on Monday
‘You’re welcoming negativity into your life, or turmoil, or troublesome times ahead of you, as well as socially, health-wise and spiritually,’ Baldwin said.
‘You’re observing something that should not be observed.’
Farther east near the Great Smoky Mountains, the Eastern Cherokee tribe is expecting thousands of spillover visitors from the national park.
Outside of humans, animals in the of the total solar eclipse have a big surprise awaiting them on Monday afternoon, biologists say.
Zoos, aquariums and other wildlife parks see the celestial phenomenon as a special research opportunity to observe how birds and mammals react when the moon’s shadow blots out most of the sun’s light in the middle of the day, experts say.
The South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, the last spot over which the total eclipse will pass during its coast-to-coast journey, will carefully monitor the behavior of creatures during the minute and 36 seconds when the area goes dark.
Biologists have set up video cameras in the Salt Marsh Aviary and Mountain Forest exhibits to gather data.
In general, researchers are not particularly concerned that the sudden mid-afternoon darkness will upset animals too much even though the eclipse’s approach will come as a complete surprise to them.
‘A little bit of excitement in the days of the animals is a good thing,’ said aviculturist Monty Wallace. ‘You don’t want the same thing happening to you everyday.’
Kai Melodnas uses solar eclipse viewing glasses to look at the sun during the Solar Eclipse Festival at the California Science Center in Los Angeles Saturday
A volunteer from the California Science Museum uses props to explain movement of the planets, the moon and the sun, during the Solar Eclipse Festival at the California Science Center in Los Angeles
A woman views a map showing the route of the sun crossing the United States during the Solar Eclipse Festival at the California Science Center in Los Angeles
Past solar eclipses have left animals appearing confused, with the disappearing sunlight throwing off their circadian rhythms, research shows.
Birds at Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park fell silent while others flew in the direction of their roosts during an eclipse in 2001, while hippos ‘paused and looked nervous,’ according to a study published in the journal Astronomy and Geophysics.
The Charleston aquarium’s aviary exhibit is home to two pelicans, six different types of ducks, two white ibises, two types of seagulls and two herons.
One of them, a yellow-crowned night heron, is nocturnal, while the other, a little blue heron, is active during the day.
‘I’m interested to see the different behaviors that they would have naturally occurring but at a wrong time of the day, being in the middle of the day when the eclipse happens,’ Wallace said.
California Power grid managers say they’ve been preparing extensively for more than a year for this Monday’s solar eclipse and that by ramping up other sources of power, mainly hydroelectric and natural gas, they are confident nobody will lose power or see a spike in energy prices
The nocturnal heron may forage for food instead of hiding in a tree, its normal daytime behavior, the biologist said, while the little blue heron may take refuge in the trees out of fear of nocturnal predators.
Kendle Enter, who works as the animal behaviorist senior biologist at the aquarium, is not expecting any changes in the behavior of two river otters in the Mountain Forest exhibit.
At midday on Monday, when the moon’s shadow will begin to cross the sun in Charleston, the otters are usually sleeping, she said. Totality is expected at 2.46pm, after the otters awaken from their naps.
‘They’re either going to sleep through it or they’re going to wake up, expecting their food,’ Enter said.
On its website, NASA recommends solar eclipse watchers find out for themselves how animals behave during the eclipse by simply observing pets or local wildlife.
HOW TO MAKE A CEREAL BOX ECLIPSE THEATER
Anyone eager to catch a glimpse of Monday’s historic total solar eclipse but doesn’t want to pay exorbitant prices for special viewing glasses could make their own.
Since it is too dangerous to look at the sun during an eclipse with the naked eye, eclipse enthusiasts must use protection.
NASA has come up with ingenious low-tech and cost-friendly ideas to make sure people can look at the once-in-a-century eclipse while also preserving their eyesight, according to The Washington Post.
One solution is making protective eyegear using a ‘cereal box personal theater’.
Find a pair of craft scissors, an empty cereal box, a piece of aluminium foil, tape, and either a small nail, or pushpin.
Then you need to take a piece of paper and trace the bottom of the cereal box.
Cut out the traced rectangle from the paper and put it in the bottom of the opened box.
Then cut square holes no bigger than 1.5 inches on the left and right side of the top of the cereal box.
Cut a piece of aluminium foil to cover the left hole and apply tape to cover it.
Then you need to poke a pinhole in the center of the foil. The smaller the hole, the sharper the projected image.
The sunlight is then supposed to go through the hole and be projected onto the piece of paper on the bottom of the cereal box.
All you have to do is look through the other hole and enjoy the show.
During the eclipse, you will see the moon getting in the path of the sun.
An app called iNaturalist is available to record observations and submit them online to compile a database about animal behavior during the eclipse.