By Alexander Woodman
Today, a total solar eclipse passed across the United States from cost to cost, starting around 10.00 a.m. local time in Oregon and ended around 3:00pm in South Carolina. The moon got in the sun’s way over the Pacific Ocean and this created a zone called totality. Around 11:55 am the moon invaded the perfect circle of the sun and took the small bite of the sun. The bite got bigger and bigger.
The total eclipse lasted less than one minute in some places and almost 3 minutes in others. This time, the longest point of eclipse duration was a small town in Illinois called Makanda. The States along the path of totality were Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The last time an eclipse traveled across the United States was 100 – years ago.
According to NASA eclipse lasts for a short time, less than three hours. About 10 to 15 minutes before totality, things changed and daylight took on a strange quality as shadows grew sharper. The temperature dropped and nature transitioned from day to night.
In Carbondale, Illinois the solar eclipse reached totality around 1:21p.m. and the darkness lasted about 3 minutes. The moon covered the outside edge of the sun, and marked the beginning of the eclipse. At 50% partial eclipse, the moon covered the sun halfway. At 70 % partial eclipse, the moon covered the majority of the sun. At 80% partial eclipse, the moon almost covered the sun completely. At total eclipse, the moon covered the sun completely leaving only the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, visible.
50,000 to 100,000 tourists from all over the world visited the greater Carbondale for watching the eclipse with a large number of those on the Southern Illinois University campus. Among SIU’s partners for the eclipse were NASA, the Adler Planetarium of Chicago, the Louisiana Space Consortium.
The city became significant to the eclipse in 2014. Carbondale is just few miles north of the point of greatest duration, the location where the eclipse lasted for the longest period of time. Over the weekend, the city became very vibrant and performances included Theory of a Deadman, Saliva, Five Finger Death Punch and more. The preparation for the event have been ongoing for well over a year.
Alexander Woodman graduated from the University of California Los Angeles, (UCLA) with honors. His research interest is in global health, international health policy development, transnational and trans-cultural health politics as well as visual culture.