The Great American Eclipse swept across the nation on August 21, 2017, and it didn’t disappoint. A 70-mile-wide region, stretching from Oregon across to South Carolina, experienced totality—the Sun’s photosphere was entirely covered by the Moon, leaving only the wispy corona visible. The corona, the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere, has a temperature greater than 1,000,000 K; by contrast, the surface of the Sun is only 5,800 K. Yet the reason we can’t see the corona under normal circumstances is because its density is only 10-12 times that of the Sun’s photosphere, so the Sun outshines it. Put the Moon in front of the Sun so that it covers its photosphere entirely, however, and you get this:
Totality, taken at the Johnson farm in Lexington, MO, on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Abraham Garcia
WHOA! You can clearly see the wispy features of the corona in this photo.
What follows is a whole lot of eclipse images, phone pics, professional photographs, videos, partial eclipse photos, photos of totality, the diamond ring, Baily’s beads, you name it! So buckle up, this is one heck of a Great American Eclipse ride!
Not everyone got to see totality, but the images are nevertheless stunning! My brother and actor Dylan Ramsey took some photos, and video! Here’s one he took in Los Angeles through solar shades:
And here’s a 45 minute time lapse he took at about 10 AM PDT:
And another, by my friend Divya Persaud:
Partial Eclipse as seen from New Jersey on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Divya M. Persaud
And here are two photos taken in Texas by Logan Kane:
Partial eclipse as seen in El Paso, Texas on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Logan A. Kane
This one is particularly nice, because of the silhouette:
Partial Eclipse in Rochester, NY, on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Shawn Dowd
There were also events held around the country! One was at my school, UC Irvine, and was organized by my friends and colleagues, UCI Physics and Astronomy grad students Katy Wimberly and Arianna Brown! Here are a few photos from the event:
What great work by Katy and Arianna, the event drew in over 1000 people to watch the eclipse!!
Before we get to some totality photos (we all want those, right?!), let’s look at this cool effect that happens as an eclipse progresses and the Sun’s light shines through tree leaves:
Solar eclipse projected through leaves on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Edward Clark
The leaves of a tree act as pinhole projectors, and because there are so many leaves, you have solar eclipse projector-ville at your feet! Really neat.
Now, totality!! And there are plenty of magnificent ones you’re about to see. Here are a couple of videos:
Totality in Madisonville, KY, on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Dan Broadbent
The beauty of videos is that you get to hear the crowd’s excitement! Nothing better than hearing people being thrilled about astronomy.
Now, onto some photos! Here’s a nice one:
Totality during the Great American Eclipse, Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Austin Evans
And another one:
Totality as seen from Gallatin, TN on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Sarah DeMarco, PsyD
And this one was taken by my friend Kathy Kerner:
But wait for it: Kathy and her friend Nicole Kwapis got to see that spectacular diamond ring we all love so much! Here it is:
Diamond Ring during totality, in Carbondale, IL, on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Nicole Kwapis
More diamond rings? But of course! Here’s another:
Diamond ring as seen during totality in Glendo, WY.
Credit: James Dougherty
And another, because WOW:
Diamond Ring during totality in Sylva, NC, on Aug 21, 2017.
But we also have Baily’s Beads! Here’s a photo of Baily’s beads almost going into a diamond ring:
Baily’s Beads approaching a Diamond Ring, as seen in Weiser, ID, on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Stephen Shankland
And these were taken by my friend, space enthusiast, and graphic designer Jason Major (who processes some of the best space photos, by the way):
More Baily’s beads here:
Of course we can also bask in the Sun’s corona, as we did in the first photo:
The added visibility of solar prominences in Jason’s photos are just spectacular! Here’s another photo that shows off the Sun’s corona, and also features prominences:
Solar corona visible during totality in Fort Fetterman Historic Site, WY, on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Astronomy Live
Bear in mind: solar prominences can get really high—several Earth diameters above the Sun’s surface! The in the above photo at 3 o’clock looks like the same one in Jason’s at 4 o’clock; performing a crude measurement, and using the fact that the Sun has a diameter of 1.39 million km, or about 865,000 miles, I estimate that prominence to be about 54,500 km, or 33,900 miles, high—that’s over four Earth diameters! Isn’t our solar system’s star wonderful?
Now, back to the eclipse. Some had cloudy skies, but that didn’t get in the way of the exquisite spectacle that was the eclipse:
Totality through clouds on Aug 21, 2017.
Credit: Mark Benson
And a time lapse of totality:
And, saving the best for last: my friend and planetary scientist Tanya Harrison got to experience the moment from Alaska Airlines!
No matter where you were, if you saw this eclipse, you experienced a moment that you shared with millions of people, a moment in which nothing mattered, nothing but basking in the glory of science, and chance, making it possible for us to be able to view something so spectacular from our planet. Cherish that moment—it was beautiful.