WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

The rare 'Great American Eclipse' is one year away

Posted August 21, 2016

This photo from NASA shows a Total Eclipse viewed from Australia in 2015.

— On Monday, August 21, 2017, one year from today, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the continental United States.

This last happened on June 8, 1918 when a total solar eclipse passed from Washington state through Florida. The path of totality last passed through Raleigh on May 28, 1900.

The path

Day will turn to twilight for two minutes along the Pacific Coast Highway southwest of Portland Oregon at 10:16 a.m. Pacific. The moon’s shadow will continue across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, the north east tip of Kansas, Missouri, the southwest tips of Illinois, Kentucky, a 50 mile long swath across the western tip of North Carolina, the northeast tip of Georgia and, finally, across most of South Carolina from Greenville, across Columbia before moving in to the Atlantic Ocean around Charleston.

How to see it

Only those along the path of totality will see the moon completely block the sun, revealing the corona, the outer atmosphere of the sun. Most of North Carolina will not experience totality, but, by 2:44 p.m., 92 percent of the sun will be obscured by the moon in Raleigh.

The path of totality is about 150 miles away in South Carolina.


Those along with center line will see between two minutes (Oregon), two minutes 41 seconds (Kentucky), or two minutes 30 seconds (South Carolina) of totality. The duration of totality drops off quickly closer to the edges of that 71 mile-wide path, down to about one minute.

Mid afternoon timing of this 2.5 minute long event puts it well in reach of a day trip for the whole family. All North Carolina schools on traditional calendars start school the following Monday. This is also first day of track out for Wake County students on track two of the year-round calendar. Municipalities and museums all along the path have events planed.

A total eclipse isn’t something you can put off until the next one that passes through Raleigh - because that won't happen until 2645.

Path of the 2017 Eclipse

Track the 2017 Eclipse on NASA's interactive map.


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