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Total Eclipse 2017

Eclipse Shadow

Oak Ridge, Tennessee is fortunate to be within the path of totality for the 2017 Eclipse! The following are some facts that can be helpful for full enjoyment of this historic event.

Date and Time: For Oak Ridge (Latitude N 35 Deg 57 Min 36.0 Sec, Longitude W 84 Deg 18 Min 01.0 Sec), on August 21, 2017, the eclipse will begin at approximately 1:05 pm. The skies will gradually become darker until totality begins at approximately 2:34 pm. Totality will last for about 1 minute and 30 seconds and end at 2:35 pm. The sky will gradually lighten until approximately 3:59 pm when the eclipse ends. The graphic above shows a timeline of events.

Where to Look in the Sky: At the beginning of the eclipse, the sun will be at Altitude 64.6 Degrees and Azimuth 159.0 Degrees. (Altitude is measured upward from the horizon and Azimuth is measured from north in a clockwise direction.) Looking toward the south as the eclipse begins, the sun will be about 2/3 up from ground level in a south-east direction. At totality the sun will be almost at the same Altitude 63.1 Degrees but will have moved in a westerly direction to Azimuth 209.6 Degrees. When the eclipse ends the sun will be almost 13 degrees lower in the sky and will have moved west to Azimuth 241.0 Degrees. CAUTION: NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN DURING THE ECLIPSE. ALWAYS USE ECLIPSE SAFE GLASSES OR SPECIAL VIEWING EQUIPMENT.

Weather???: During the past five years, the sky has only been totally clear one time on August 21 - in 2012. In 2015, the sky was partly sunny with some clouds, but in 2013 and 2014 there were more clouds than sunshine. And last year there were rain showers most of the day.

What Is A Total Eclipse?: A total eclipse of the sun occurs when the sun, moon, and earth are at the right place at the right time. This requires that the moon be in its "new" phase - when it is between the sun and the earth. In addition it has to be in a position where it completely blocks out the light from the sun. (The illustration below shows the orientation of the three bodies.) Although the moon has a "new" phase every month, it is rarely in the right position to block the sun - partly due to the fact that the moon's orbit is slightly tilted from the orbit of the earth. The next total eclipse in the United States will be on April 8, 2024, but the moon will only cover about 89% of the sun in Oak Ridge.

Eclipse Path

Path of the Eclipse: The following is a map of the path the eclipse will take across North America, courtesy of NASA.

Eclipse Path Across North America

Good Viewing Location?: The UT Arboretum is hosting an Eclipse Viewing Event on August 21 from 1:00 pm until 3:30 pm in an area near the NOAA Weather Station located just off of Arboretum Drive and north of the Program Shelter that will provide a clear view of the southern sky for visitors. Parking is available at the Program Shelter. Below is a viewing location map.

Eclipse Viewing Location Map

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
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