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Watching the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Across America, people watched the solar eclipse. Catch up on what happened here.

ByTim De ChantNOVA NextNOVA Next
Watching the 2017 Solar Eclipse

As people across the country watched the first total solar eclipse since 1979 to sweep the contiguous United States, we posted videos, photos, and more here throughout the day.

Where Did Totality Cast Its Shadow?

The eclipse’s totality spanned the contiguous United States from Oregon to South Carolina.

Watching the 2017 Solar Eclipse-usa_eclipse_map_v2.jpg
A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse.

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What Did People See?

How did people experience the eclipse? We scoured social media for images that captured the essence of the event.

The show is about to begin… 🌕🌖🌗🌘🌑🌒🌓🌔. . . . #eclipse #eclipse2017 #oregon #totality

A post shared by Ben Martinek (@simple_benm) on Aug 21, 2017 at 8:13am PDT

The traffic jams started early in the morning.

Just trying to get home from the Tri Cities….#EclipseTraffic. I'm still 6 miles from the Oregon/Washington border.

A post shared by JM (@millertime0834) on Aug 20, 2017 at 3:52pm PDT

People were at the ready with filters on their cameras and telescopes.

Our cameras are set and ready to capture the Total Solar Eclipse. #eclipse #solarphotography

A post shared by Saint Louis Science Center (@stlsciencecenter) on Aug 21, 2017 at 8:39am PDT

They were fully prepared on the International Space Station.

All hands (cameras) on deck for #SolarEclipse2017 today… What will you take pictures with? Don’t forget to protect your eyeballs!

— Jack Fischer (@Astro2fish) August 21, 2017

It begins!

Start of eclipse in Rexburg, ID __________________________ #rexburgeclipse #eclipse2017 #teamcanon #Cokin #ThousandOaksOptical #Eclipse #Totality #Sunspots #Astronomy #partialeclipse #canon

A post shared by Nicole Padberg Munkdale (@nicolepadbergmunkdale) on Aug 21, 2017 at 9:30am PDT

Someone had a good sense of humor…

The end is near! (Via: Reddit)

A post shared by @Lee_Ayers_ (@friendofbae) on Aug 21, 2017 at 9:31am PDT

Here’s one from our cameraman in Oregon.


Imminent totality on the West Coast!

This spectacular shot gives you an idea of how totality looked to the naked eye.

About the best pic of the total solar eclipse that I could get with my phone (and a pair of glasses taped over the lens). That was the coolest thing ever! 🌅⛺🌌 even got the shadow bands on video! #totalsolareclipse #eclipse2017 #eclipse #solareclipse #totaleclipse #shadowbands

A post shared by Shannon (@highlandheather) on Aug 21, 2017 at 10:40am PDT


All I know is I wish the moon passed in front of the sun more often because that was a pretty unforgettable experience. From day to night back to day all in a couple minutes. We weren't sure what we were going to get with the haze from the nearby fires but lucked out and got a clear sky. Happy to share this moment with everyone who couldn't make the trip to see it.

A post shared by Eric Rubens (@erubes1) on Aug 21, 2017 at 10:59am PDT

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A photographer from NASA caught the International Space Station transiting the sun during the eclipse.

It's the moon, sunspots AND the station in front of the sun. @NASA photographer captures station transiting sun during #Eclipse2017

— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) August 21, 2017

Jay Pasachoff, who has seen a world record 66 eclipses (34 in the totality), took these stunning shots today, which were composited by Christian Lockwood to give us a glimpse of the moon and its features as it obscures the sun.

Photo credit: Jay Pasachoff & Williams College Eclipse Expedition/Compositing by Christian Lockwood

Relive the eclipse in just 10 seconds.

Credits: Jay Pasachoff, Ron Dantowitz, and the Williams College Eclipse Expedition

And last but not least, experience the eclipse totality by squeezing in among the crowds to witness the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire continental United States since 1918. This 360˚ video exclusive was produced by The New York Times in partnership with NOVA.

Watching the Eclipse Safely

Though this eclipse is over, these safe watching tips will come in handy seven years from now when the eclipse returns to America. You’ll need protection that blocks 99.9996% of the light in order to watch safely. Otherwise, you risk destroying photoreceptors in your eyes that allow you to perceive light.

A few notes: Sunglasses and glacier glasses won’t protect your eyes. You need eclipse glasses with the ISO code 12312-2 printed on them. To watch the eclipse through a camera or telescope, make sure to place a solar filter over the lens. Without it, the light can still damage your retinas. And if you don’t have eclipse glasses, there are other ways to safely watch the eclipse.

Here’s how to watch the eclipse without frying your eyeballs.

Inside the Path of Totality

  • Before the sun is completely eclipsed, everyone needs to wear eclipse glasses — even when there’s only a crescent of the sun showing.
  • When totality happens, you’ll have about two minutes when direct light from the sun is completely blocked and only the sun’s corona will be visible. Feel free to take the glasses off and gaze at the sun all you want!
  • When the moon starts moving away and direct sunlight is visible again, put your eclipse glasses back on.

Outside the Path of Totality

  • If you’re outside the path of totality, you need to wear eclipse glasses the entire length of the eclipse.

Photo credit: Neal Herbert/National Park Service

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