There are, on average, two solar eclipses per year in various locations on Earth. Rarely do they cross the United States. In 1979, an eclipse’s path of totality passed through four northwest states. On 10 May 1994, another eclipse was visible in much of the United States, the path of totality going from New Mexico northeast to Maine, passing through southeast Kansas and central Missouri along the way – Annular Solar Eclipse of May 10, 1994. Kansas City was barely on the northern edge of the total eclipse path, and Lawrence KS experienced about 98% solar concealment.
One week from now, on Monday, 21 August 2017, there will be a total solar eclipse, its ecliptic path spanning the entire contiguous United States. The path of totality will enter near Corvallis OR and exit near Charleston SC. Just after 1:00pm CDT, the eclipse shadow will pass through northeast Kansas and Central Missouri. Kansas City will be barely on it’s southern edge, and Lawrence KS will experience about 96% solar concealment. It won’t be until 2045 when another total solar eclipse will transverse the U.S., barely touching the southwest corner of Kansas.
At no time is it safe to look at the sun without stringent eye protection. Sunglasses are not adequate – safe lenses must filter 100% of ultraviolet, 100% of infrared, and 99.999% of visible light. If not, permanent eye damage can occur, if not blindness. The most popular eye protection are cardboard eyeglasses with either aluminized mylar lenses or black polymer lenses. However, NASA and others are reporting that many fly-by-night vendors are taking advantage of the astronomical growth (pardon the pun) in demand for eclipse glasses, and looking to turn a quick profit by selling subpar and potentially dangerous goods to the unsuspecting public. Solar Eclipse Glasses that are ISO 12312-2 certified are safe for eclipse viewing. Another option is welder’s goggles with #14 rated glass, nothing less (combining welder glass layers does not work, such as #10 with #4) – Observing Astronomical Events Safely. All of the NASA-approved manufacturers are specialists, making only lenses or astronomical gear, and have also been in business for decades – Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers.
There are a number of great web sites with the history and science of solar eclipses, many types of maps, and animations of the 2017 eclipse from several vantage points. View them at:
Total Solar Eclipse – 21 August 2017
NASA – Solar Eclipse Page
2017 Solar Eclipse Animations by Ernie Wright of NASA
Total Solar Eclipse 2017 – Communities in Kansas
Total Solar Eclipse 2017 – Communities in Missouri