How Long Is The 2017 Solar Eclipse? You Actually Don't Have Much Time To See It

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Share

It's been in headlines for months, and people have been making plans for view it for years. But, considering it's so anticipated, it's worth asking how long the 2017 solar eclipse is — because, shocker, it's a lot shorter than you may realize.

On Aug. 21, the United States will experience a total solar eclipse for the first time in nearly 100 years. The last time a total solar eclipse was viewable from coast to coast was in 1918. So yeah, folks have been waiting a long time for this bad boy. A total solar eclipse occurs when the sun is completely covered by the moon as it passes in front of the Earth. Branded, predictably, The Great American Solar Eclipse, the August event will be visible from a 70 mile swath of land running from Oregon to South Carolina (though most of the American mainland will see some sort of an eclipse, it won't be total one unless you live within the Path of Totality). The Oregon coast will be the first to catch a glimpse, beginning at 9:04 a.m. PT. Totality, when the sky goes completely dark, will hit around 10:15 a.m. PT.

The maximum point of the eclipse, considered the best spot to watch the event in the world, will occur near Hopkinsville, Kentucky at 1:20 p.m. ET, according to Time and Date. Totality will last 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

....Yep. That's right. All this for a celestial happening that runs under three minutes.

Giphy

So why all the fuss? Well, as previously mentioned, it's been a long damn time. And there a lot of myths, traditions and beliefs surrounding this phenomenon. In Norse mythology, it was believed that wolves were eating the sun. In ancient China, it was a dragon who was getting its lunch on. And in Italy, flowers planted during a solar eclipse are thought to be bigger and brighter than their non-eclipse brethren.

Giphy

The most prevalent superstition in the Western world is that solar eclipses are a sign of impending destruction. But based on the past, oh, I don't know, year, I'd say we're solidly in the destruction phase. So just enjoy this truly ~out of this world~ event and don't forget to wear your protective shades.