What's a total solar eclipse and why this one is so unusual - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

What's a total solar eclipse and why this one is so unusual

Posted: Updated:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

Total solar eclipses occur every year or two or three, often in the middle of nowhere like the South Pacific or Antarctic. What makes Monday's eclipse so special is that it will cut diagonally across the entire United States.

The path of totality - where day briefly becomes night - will pass over Oregon, continuing through the heartland all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. Those on the outskirts - well into Canada, Central America and even the top of South America - will be treated to a partial eclipse.

The last time a total solar eclipse swept the whole width of the U.S. was in 1918.

No tickets are required for this Monday's show, just special eclipse glasses so you don't ruin your eyes.

Some eclipse tidbits :

WHAT'S A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?

When the moon passes between Earth and the sun, and scores a bull's-eye by completely blotting out the sunlight, that's a total solar eclipse. The moon casts a shadow on our planet. Dead center is where sky gazers get the full treatment. In this case, the total eclipse will last up to 2 minutes and 40-plus seconds in places. A partial eclipse will be visible along the periphery. Clouds could always spoil the view, so eclipse watchers need to be ready to split for somewhere with clear skies, if necessary.

WHAT'S THE ECLIPSE PATH?

The path of totality will begin near Lincoln City, Oregon, as the lunar shadow makes its way into the U.S. This path will be 60 to 70 miles wide (97 to 113 kilometers); the closer to the center, the longer the darkness. Totality will cross from Oregon into Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and, finally, South Carolina. It will also pass over tiny slivers of Montana and Iowa. The eclipse will last longest near Carbondale, Illinois: two minutes and 44 seconds. The biggest cities in the path include Nashville; Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina; Salem, Oregon; Casper, Wyoming; and just partially within, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri.

LAST TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSES IN U.S.?

Hawaii experienced a total solar eclipse in 1991. But the U.S. mainland hasn't seen a total solar eclipse since 1979, when it swooped across Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota, then into Canada. Before that, in 1970, a total solar eclipse skirted the Atlantic coastline from Florida to Virginia. Totality - or total darkness - exceeded three minutes in 1970, longer than the one coming up. The country's last total solar eclipse stretching from coast to coast, on June 8, 1918, came in over Oregon and Washington, and made a beeline for Florida.

WHEN'S THE NEXT ONE?

If you miss Monday's eclipse - or get bitten by the eclipse bug - you'll have to wait seven years to see another one in the continental U.S. The very next total solar eclipse will be in 2019, but you'll have to be below the equator for a glimpse. We're talking the South Pacific, and Chile and Argentina. It's pretty much the same in 2020. For the U.S., the next total solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024. The line of totality will cross from Texas, up through the Midwest, almost directly over Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York, up over New England and out over Maine and New Brunswick, Canada.

___

Follow AP's coverage of the total solar eclipse here.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Upriver/Beacon Fire 0 percent contained, but crews have a line around it

    Upriver/Beacon Fire 0 percent contained, but crews have a line around it

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 2:09 PM EDT2018-07-18 18:09:57 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Upriver/Beacon fire's forward progress has been stopped, according to firefighters on scene. Containment is at 0 percent, but crews have a good line around the fire. The fire began just before 4:00 am when firefighters responded to a structure fire.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Upriver/Beacon fire's forward progress has been stopped, according to firefighters on scene. Containment is at 0 percent, but crews have a good line around the fire. The fire began just before 4:00 am when firefighters responded to a structure fire.

    >>
  • Post Falls man dies in Spokane Valley crash

    Post Falls man dies in Spokane Valley crash

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 1:13 AM EDT2018-07-18 05:13:40 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Post Falls man died in a collision involving a motorcycle and semi truck Tuesday afternoon in Spokane Valley. Around 3:53 p.m., a Peterbilt semi-truck was heading westbound on Trent turning north into a private parking lot from the second lane when a Suzuki motorcycle in the first lane turned in front of the semi and collided. The driver of the motorcycle, 65-year-old Michael Arnold of Post Falls, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Post Falls man died in a collision involving a motorcycle and semi truck Tuesday afternoon in Spokane Valley. Around 3:53 p.m., a Peterbilt semi-truck was heading westbound on Trent turning north into a private parking lot from the second lane when a Suzuki motorcycle in the first lane turned in front of the semi and collided. The driver of the motorcycle, 65-year-old Michael Arnold of Post Falls, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

    >>
  • Death of Spokane County Jail inmate being investigated

    Death of Spokane County Jail inmate being investigated

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:47 PM EDT2018-07-18 03:47:40 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Detectives are investigating the in-custody death of an inmate at the Spokane County Jail. Deputies were called to the jail Tuesday afternoon regarding an inmate who was found deceased in a cell while inmates were being released for "out time" for that floor. Major Crimes Detectives are processing the scene and conducting interviews of inmates and correction staff. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Detectives are investigating the in-custody death of an inmate at the Spokane County Jail. Deputies were called to the jail Tuesday afternoon regarding an inmate who was found deceased in a cell while inmates were being released for "out time" for that floor. Major Crimes Detectives are processing the scene and conducting interviews of inmates and correction staff. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Upriver/Beacon Fire 0 percent contained, but crews have a line around it

    Upriver/Beacon Fire 0 percent contained, but crews have a line around it

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 2:09 PM EDT2018-07-18 18:09:57 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Upriver/Beacon fire's forward progress has been stopped, according to firefighters on scene. Containment is at 0 percent, but crews have a good line around the fire. The fire began just before 4:00 am when firefighters responded to a structure fire.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Upriver/Beacon fire's forward progress has been stopped, according to firefighters on scene. Containment is at 0 percent, but crews have a good line around the fire. The fire began just before 4:00 am when firefighters responded to a structure fire.

    >>
  • Fire lined vs. fire containment: What's the difference?

    Fire lined vs. fire containment: What's the difference?

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 1:48 PM EDT2018-07-18 17:48:19 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - We've had a lot of questions about what firefighters  are talking about when they say that the fire is 100 percent lined, but that the Upriver-Beacon fire is 0% contained. Here's the gist, according to firefighters: Containment is essentially their faith in the strength of the fire line. So when they say there is a line around 100 percent of the fire, but 0 percent containment, it means they are concerned that the fire could jump the line.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - We've had a lot of questions about what firefighters  are talking about when they say that the fire is 100 percent lined, but that the Upriver-Beacon fire is 0% contained. Here's the gist, according to firefighters: Containment is essentially their faith in the strength of the fire line. So when they say there is a line around 100 percent of the fire, but 0 percent containment, it means they are concerned that the fire could jump the line.

    >>
  • BOLO issued for armed man, woman believed to be in danger

    BOLO issued for armed man, woman believed to be in danger

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 12:39 PM EDT2018-07-18 16:39:01 GMT

    MISSOULA, Mont. - The United States Marshals Service issued a Be On the Lookout for a man charged with aggravated assault and tampering with a witness. According to the US Marshals, Marco Antonio Guzman fled the Libby, MT area with Sandra Carris. Guzman is believed to be armed and dangerous. Carris is not believed to be a willing participant in the travel and has been listed as a missing endangered person. 

    >>

    MISSOULA, Mont. - The United States Marshals Service issued a Be On the Lookout for a man charged with aggravated assault and tampering with a witness. According to the US Marshals, Marco Antonio Guzman fled the Libby, MT area with Sandra Carris. Guzman is believed to be armed and dangerous. Carris is not believed to be a willing participant in the travel and has been listed as a missing endangered person. 

    >>