On August 21, 2017, folks in parts of Oregon will get the extraordinary opportunity to experience a total solar eclipse. Depending on your location, the period of totality in Oregon will occur approximately between 10:15 am and 10:30 am Pacific Time. It will last between 2 minutes at the Oregon coast to about 2 minutes 10 seconds at the Oregon-Idaho border.
Solar eclipses are rare events, with only two to five occurring worldwide every year. Each has its own magnitude and area of visibility. Even more rare is a total solar eclipse, where the moon’s passing between the Earth and sun creates a dark shadow. Known as the umbra, this shadow is cast on a small portion of the Earth’s surface.
Going further, an even more rare event is a total solar eclipse where the path of the umbra passes through Oregon. The last one to do this occurred on February 26, 1979. After this year, the next one that will come close to Oregon will be on August 12, 2045, when its umbra passes through Northern California.
Fortunately, Oregon has its best weather in August. Sunny days are plentiful, even west of the Cascade Mountains. Consequently, chances are high for good viewing conditions throughout the state. Keep an eye on the weather forecast leading up to August 21st and consider selecting a viewing spot east of the Cascades if clouds appear to be a potential issue.
Areas in the path of totality will be busy, so be patient and allow yourself plenty of time to reach your viewing location. Above all, enjoy the experience! They don’t happen every day.
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