Shadow of the Eclipse

  • Released Monday, June 12th, 2017
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:47PM
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On August 21, 2017, the moon will pass between Earth and the sun in a total solar eclipse that will be visible on a path from Oregon to South Carolina across the continental United States. This path of totality will occur in a little over 90 minutes, while observers on the ground will see the eclipse for about two and a half minutes. Standing at the edge of the moon's shadow, or umbra, the difference between seeing a total eclipse and a partial eclipse comes down to elevation - mountains and valleys both on Earth and on the moon - which affect where the shadow lands. In this visualization, data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter account for the moon's terrain that creates a jagged edge on its shadow. This data is then combined with elevation data on Earth as well as information on the sun angle to create the most accurate map of the eclipse path to date. Watch the video to learn more.
All State maps are available at: NASA's official eclipse 2017 website

The jagged profile of the moon as measured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The jagged profile of the moon as measured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

An illustration of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at the moon.

An illustration of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at the moon.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio