Solar Eclipse - August 21, 2017

Animated Gif of eclipse

On Monday, August 21, the shadow of the moon will pass over the United States, starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina. For those viewing from the location of the small black dot shown on the animation, the sun will be completely, but briefly, covered. 

Notice from the clock on the animation that it will take less than two hours for the dark shadow to traverse the continent.


NAD Education LogoVirtual Viewing Party

North American Division of SDAs Department of Education 

The map and other content on this page will be updated regularly throughout the summer as we highlight different schools.  Elementary and secondary schools along the path of the eclipse have been invited to participate in a collaborative solar eclipse viewing party.  Look at the map below to discover who has joined so far! 

Map of Participating Schools

Ideas for Experiments

If you have ideas for experiments that would be easy to perform and fun to share, send a link to, and it might be added to the list below.

  • Observation details: First record the location (latitude, longitude, elevation).  Then record the following physical data: 
    • Monitor the outdoor air temperature at multiple times before, during, and after the eclipse. 
    • Record time of contact point 1 (C1) - lunar disk first touches the solar disk (sun is still completely visible)
    • Record time of contact point 2 (C2) - lunar disk first covers the sun (sun first completely hidden)   
    • Record time of contact point 3 (C3) - solar disk first shows after totality 
    • Record time of contact point 4 (C4) - edge of lunar disk leaves edge of solar disk
  • Photographic record: There are several interesting things to record as still photographs or as video.  Just before C2 and just after C3, photograph the "diamond ring" and "Bailey's Beads."  A visual record of "shadow bands" would be quite interesting as well. This link describes some experimental apparatus to help you view them.  These phenomena are discussed in the Smarter Every Day video linked to above.
  • Spectral comparison: Use a spectrometer to record the spectrum of the corona of the sun during totality and compare to the spectrum of the full sun.  Here is an open source spectrometer kit that we use in some of our labs.

Helpful Books

How to Photograph the Solar Eclipse, Alan Dyer (Available for purchase as an iBook)

Your Guide to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, Michael Bakich

See the Great American Eclipse, Michael Zeiler

Road Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, Fred Espenak  

Chattanooga Area Viewing Information

 GAC Logo

Map of North of Chattanooga area available at  


Another good local map

Eclipse Information Resources

NASA logo

NASA's solar eclipse website has a host of information about the eclipse, from solar eclipse basics and tracking maps to information on contributing to scientific investigations during this eclipse.

 GAC Logo is another good website for information and detailed maps of the path of the eclipse.  

 Flyover Icon

 Animated flyover of the predicted path of the eclipse shadow, from Oregon to South Carolina.

 Vox Logo Here is a very nice video explaining how lunar and solar eclipses are formed.  
 Smarter Everyday Smarter Every Day on You Tube - Episode 171 .  Destin talks about interesting things to look for when watching an eclipse, as well as a technique for photographing it. logo A great source for genuine viewing glasses!

Download the Eclipse Tracker app!

App IconAvailable on the App StoreAvailable on the Play Store