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Total Solar Eclipses in the USA

11 Feb 2016, 21:31 UTC
Total Solar Eclipses in the USA
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Eleven images capture various phases of the 2001 total eclipse from start to finish. Courtesy of “MrEclipse.com“.

With interest rapidly building for the upcoming total solar eclipse in the USA on 2017 August 21, I became curious about the rarity of total eclipses in America. The very first total eclipse I witnessed was on 1970 March 7. The path of totality crossed the southeastern USA and included portions of Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Nantucket.

Another total eclipse was visible in the USA from the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota) on 1979 February 26. Although a total eclipse was seen on the Big Island of Hawaii on 1991 July 11, no other total eclipse is visible from the lower 48 states of the USA between 1979 and 2017 – a lapse of over 38 years!

Map 1 shows the path of all total (blue) and annular (yellow) eclipses through the continental USA from 1951 through 2000. Courtesy of “Atlas of Central Solar Eclipses in the USA“.

Map 1 shows the path of all total (and annular) eclipses through the continental USA during the last 50 years of the 20th century. Besides the 1970 ...

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