mcloudy.png
Saturday July 20th, 2019 6:10PM

Americans stake out prime viewing spots to see sun go dark

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Americans with telescopes, cameras and protective glasses staked out viewing spots along a narrow corridor from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the midday sun Monday in what promised to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history.

Sky-watchers everywhere — and millions were expected to peer into the sun — fretted about the weather and hoped for clear skies for the first total solar eclipse to sweep coast-to-coast across the U.S. in practically a century.

As he set up telescopes, Ray Cooper, a volunteer with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Salem, worried offshore clouds might roll in and spoil the two-minute show.

"If it stays like this, it will be perfect," Cooper said on the eve of the big day. He has seen full solar eclipses before, but never so close to home, making this one extra special.

With 200 million people within a day's drive of Monday's path of totality, towns and parks braced for monumental crowds.

In Salem, a field outside the state fairgrounds was transformed into a campground in advance of an eclipse-watching party for 8,500, courtesy of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

"It's one of those 'check the box' kind of things in life," said Hilary O'Hollaren, who drove 30 miles from Portland with her two teenagers and a tent, plus a couple friends.

Astronomers consider a full solar eclipse the grandest of cosmic spectacles.

The Earth, moon and sun line up perfectly every one to three years, briefly turning day into night for a sliver of the planet. But these sights normally are in no man's land, like the vast Pacific or Earth's poles. This is the first eclipse of the social media era to pass through such a heavily populated area.

The moon hasn't thrown this much shade at the U.S. since 1918. That was the country's last coast-to-coast total eclipse.

In fact, the U.S. mainland hasn't seen a total solar eclipse since 1979 — and even then, only five states in the Northwest experienced total darkness.

Scientist said Monday's total eclipse would cast a shadow that would race through 14 states, entering near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 1:16 p.m. EDT, moving diagonally across the heartland over Casper, Wyoming, Carbondale, Illinois, and Nashville, Tennessee, and then exiting near Charleston, South Carolina, at 2:47 p.m. EDT.

The projected path cut 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) across the land and was just 60 to 70 miles (96 kilometers to 113 kilometers) wide. Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois was set to see the longest stretch of darkness: 2 minutes and 44 seconds.

Mostly clear skies beckoned along much of the route, according to the National Weather Service.

All of North America was on track to get at least a partial eclipse, along with Central America and the top of South America.

Kim Kniseley drove overnight from Roanoke, Virginia, arriving in Madisonville, Tennessee, before dawn Monday to get a parking spot at Kefauver Park, where by sunrise dozens of folks had claimed benches and set up tents. He said Roanoke would see a partial eclipse of 90 percent, but that would have been like "going to a rock concert and you're standing in the parking lot."

NASA and other scientists were in position to watch and analyze from telescopes on the ground and in orbit, the International Space Station, airplanes and scores of high-altitude balloons beaming back live video. Citizen scientists planned to monitor animal and plant behavior as daylight turned into twilight and the temperature dropped.

NASA's associate administrator for science missions, Thomas Zurbuchen, took to the skies for a dry run Sunday. He planned to usher in the eclipse over the Pacific Coast from a NASA plane.

"Can't wait for the cosmic moment MON morning," he tweeted.

Near Victoria, British Columbia, which awaited a 91 percent eclipse of the sun, science and math teacher Clayton Uyeda was going to watch from a ferry along with his wife. He said he was "expecting to have a real sense of connection with the heavens."

He had similarly lofty hopes for his students if they could bring themselves to look up at the sky instead of down at their electronic devices.

Scientists everywhere agreed with Uyeda: Put the phones and cameras down and enjoy the greatest natural show on Earth with your own (protected) eyes.

The only time it's safe to look directly without protective eyewear is during totality, when the sun is 100 percent covered. Otherwise, to avoid eye damage, keep the solar specs on or use pinhole projectors that can cast an image of the eclipse into a box.

The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be in 2024. The next coast-to-coast one will not be until 2045.

___

Associated Press writers Gillian Flaccus in Salem, Oregon, and Beth Harpaz in Madisonville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP's coverage of the total solar eclipse here

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Americans stake out prime viewing spots to see sun go dark
Americans are staking out prime viewing spots along a narrow corridor stretching from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the sun Monday
3:11AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Prosecutors: Prof killed boyfriend as part of sexual fantasy
Prosecutors say fatal stabbing of hairstylist in Chicago was part of sexual fantasy hatched online between professor and university employee
9:57PM ( 5 hours ago )
Eclipse eve: Millions converge across US to see sun go dark
Millions of eclipse watchers are converging on a narrow corridor stretching from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the sun Monday
9:55PM ( 5 hours ago )
U.S. News
LEADING OFF: Royals all set to watch eclipse on day off
LEADING OFF: Royals all set to watch eclipse on day off
3:03AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Bullpens looming large again for this year's postseason
Last year's Cleveland Indians were the latest team to show how important a good bullpen can be in the playoffs, but not everybody has a tireless star like Andrew Miller
3:02AM ( 19 minutes ago )
The Latest: Sydney school mourns boy killed in Barcelona
A Sydney school is mourning the loss of a 7-year-old student who was killed when a van plowed into pedestrians in Barcelona
2:57AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Legendary comedian Jerry Lewis knew how to laugh and cry
If jokes are the children of pain, then Jerry Lewis was a natural father
12:05AM ( 3 hours ago )
Jerry Lewis, Hollywood survivor, showman, dies at 91
Jerry Lewis epitomized what it meant to be a survivor in Hollywood
12:05AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Singapore helicopter evacuates 4 injured US crew
The U.S. Navy says four sailors injured in a ship collision were evacuated to a hospital
11:53PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Asian shares mixed ahead of Korean drills, banker meeting
Asian stocks are mixed as investors monitored joint military drills between U.S. and South Korean forces and awaited a key meeting of central bankers later this week
11:30PM ( 3 hours ago )
US warship collides with tanker near Singapore; 10 missing
A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer collided with a tanker in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca, and at least 10 sailors are missing
10:37PM ( 4 hours ago )
1979 Klan-Nazi attack survivor hopes for a 'justice river'
Leader of a march attacked by Klan, Nazis in Greensboro in 1979 sees hope for a 'justice river'
6:28PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business
LEADING OFF: Royals all set to watch eclipse on day off
LEADING OFF: Royals all set to watch eclipse on day off
3:03AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Bullpens looming large again for this year's postseason
Last year's Cleveland Indians were the latest team to show how important a good bullpen can be in the playoffs, but not everybody has a tireless star like Andrew Miller
3:02AM ( 19 minutes ago )
The Latest: Sydney school mourns boy killed in Barcelona
A Sydney school is mourning the loss of a 7-year-old student who was killed when a van plowed into pedestrians in Barcelona
2:57AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Manhunt intensifies in Spain for suspected final cell member
Spanish police are continuing the search for the man who they consider to be the final member of a cell that carried out vehicle attacks in Barcelona and a nearby town that killed 14 and injured more than 120 others
2:49AM ( 32 minutes ago )
US beats Europe in Solheim Cup 16 1/2-11 1/2 in Iowa
Four years ago, Europe celebrated the most decisive win in Solheim Cup history _ on American soil, no less. Captain Annika Sorenstam and her team will likely spend their trip back across the Atlantic wondering when they can compete with the U.S. again.
2:48AM ( 34 minutes ago )