NASA Creates Extremely Accurate Map for August's Total Solar Eclipse

Brian Donegan
Published: June 13, 2017

The first total solar eclipse in the Lower 48 states in more than 38 years will take place in just over two months on Monday, Aug. 21, and NASA wants to make sure you know exactly what to expect.

NASA data visualizer Ernie Wright created the map below, which NASA said is the most accurate map for Aug. 21's total solar eclipse.

(MORE: 10 Best States to See the Total Solar Eclipse)

NASA data visualizer Ernie Wright created this map which shows a more accurate path of the upcoming Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.

In this map, data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter accounts for the moon's terrain, which is then combined with elevation data on Earth and information on the sun's angle in order to create the most accurate map of the eclipse path to date, NASA said.

Zoomed-in maps for each state which will experience totality can be found at NASA's official eclipse 2017 website.

A narrow swath from Oregon to South Carolina will see the moon completely mask the sun. Nearly all other parts of North America – as well as parts of South America, Africa and Europe – will also see at least a partial eclipse.

The eclipse will start mid-morning Aug. 21 in the Pacific Northwest, around midday in the nation's heartland and early afternoon in the Southeast and end in the Lower 48 after 4 p.m. EDT. Observers on the ground will see the eclipse for approximately 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," NASA said in a release.

While it is far too early to make an accurate weather forecast for any specific location on Aug. 21, average August weather conditions over many years provide some perspective on the chance rain or cloudiness could inhibit viewing.

Brian Donegan is a digital meteorologist at Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

MORE: March 2015 Eclipse

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