THE PATH OF TOTALITY: Eclipses through history.. and a comparison to today

This is the month.. Eclipse mania. I am planning my party now.

Here in Pennsylvania I will only see a 75% to 80% coverage zone, nothing like my niece in South Carolina. While I considered it, I will not be traveling. Will you?

…..I found the perfect shirt for a soul like me: Charlie Brown. Maybe after I set a few financial cards in order I will buy it.

In the mean time, a few solar eclipse housekeeping items for some wonderment..

There is.. yes..there IS a solar eclipse song. It’s awful! It’s wretched. But for your listening displeasure I post it here:

x x x
But what I really think is important is to consider the history of solar eclipses.. Not really their meaning or paranormal regard–I will get to that in subsequent posts–but the history.
Famous solar eclipses in history.

It has been such a long time since we had such a great chance for the entire continuous United States of America to see the sun vanish before our eyes.

A stroll through history.


Thomas Jefferson wrote to Ellicott about it in 1806.

Spanish astronomer José Joaquin de Ferrer sketched it ..

x x x

The path of this famous “New Year’s Day Eclipse” came ashore just north of San Francisco and passed into Canada from extreme northwest North Dakota. The newly designated Yellowstone National Park was in the path of totality—something it will just miss this August, as the path will be just to the south over Grand Teton National Park…

The 1878 eclipse is famous for something else: It almost killed Cleveland Abbe, who is today known as the father of the National Weather Service.. He climbed Pike’s Peak in 1878 to witness the eclipse and nearly died. He chose Colorado’s Pike’s Peak, an ultra-prominence with a summit at over 14,000 feet above sea level.. Abbe and his colleagues were battered with wind, cold, and extreme weather as they tried to observe the skies in preparation for the eclipse. They also got altitude sickness. The day before the eclipse, Abbe woke to pain so extreme he could not stand. Later that evening a general ordered Abbe taken off the peak on a stretcher!

x x x

Zoom ahead: 1970: This is probably the last total eclipse that anyone reading this blog in the U.S. might remember. The path of totality came ashore over the Florida panhandle and marched up the Atlantic East Coast before going offshore over Norfolk, Virginia. It provided 90% totality to the big East Coast corridor cities from Washington D.C. to Boston. Charleston, South Carolina was in the 100% totality zone, as it will be again this August…

NASA remembers 1970 as the eclipse of the century.

Still ongoing: Brown carpets, the Vietnam war, and Richard Nixon’s presidency.

x x x

1979 was the next best chance in modern history for the continent to see space at its darkest and finest.. but.. The path of this rare wintertime total eclipse coursed across Washington State, northern Idaho, and Montana before entering Canada from extreme northwest North Dakota. A large Pacific storm was affecting the region, and the sun was never clearly visible along the route…

x x x

And then there is 2017.

God I am hoping –praying!– for amazing weather all across the continent.

Imagine .. a website (or whatever mode of communication of the future) writing about this 2017 great eclipse.. this moment in time!

YOU! you are a part of history!