2017-5-05: A Total Solar Eclipse is coming to the Northwest! ⬅︎
Yes, for the first time in nearly four decades we will be experiencing a Total Solar Eclipse here in the Pacific Northwest! On August 21st starting at around 9:00AM, the moon will begin to pass in front of the sun and won't completely exit until around 11:40AM. What you’ll experience will depend on your location.

For most of the Northwest, actually for most of North America, only a partial eclipse will be experienced in which the moon covers much but not all of the sun’s disk. Here in Washington State, over 90% of the sun’s light will be blocked but the remaining light will be bright enough to keep things from getting very dark.

But for those within the direct path of the moon's shadow or umbra, a total eclipse will be experienced as the moon covers all of the sun’s disk. The sky will become dark as if it were nighttime. Animals will become confused. The sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona, will become visible. Totality may last for a short, but spectacular, two minutes.

So where’s the path of the umbra? It goes west to east right through the middle of Oregon and then across the US to South Carolina. In the map above, the path is between the purple lines with the blue line representing where the period of totality will be longest.

We encourage you to experience this rare and awesome event! If you do view the eclipse be sure to use eclipse glasses to prevent serious eye damage. You can find these online and we recommend that you buy ASAP since they may be harder to get as we approach the eclipse.

Cool Facts about Total Solar Eclipses:

* The moon is about 400 times smaller than the sun in diameter and, very remarkably, 400 times closer to us than the sun. This makes both moon and sun virtually the same angular size in our sky -- one-half of one degree.

* Both moon and sun follow nearly identical paths in our sky with the moon being about twelve times faster than the sun giving us twelve months in a year.

* At every New Moon, the moon catches up to the sun in our sky and then passes it. Usually the moon is a little bit above or below the sun so this happens without notice from earth.

* About every eighteen months the moon passes directly in front of the sun at a New Moon. This creates a dark shadow somewhere on the earth called the umbra that can be up to about 166 miles in diameter but usually much smaller. Those within the umbra can experience a total solar eclipse.

* A dimmer shadow, known as the penumbra surrounds the umbra. It can be over a thousand miles in diameter. Those within the penumbra can experience a partial solar eclipse.

* The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the Pacific Northwest was in 1979, nearly 40 years ago.

* Total solar eclipses like those on earth happen no where else in our solar system.