May 30, 2017
What will we see in Pennsylvania during the solar eclipse of 2017?
Better luck next time, Pennsylvania. In 2024. But, as for the solar eclipse this summer, on Aug. 21, unless you're willing to travel, a partial is all we'll be seeing. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun. The Moon's shadow is cast onto the Earth.
However, the full eclipse is visible only across a band of the Earth - the path of totality, which on Aug. 21 will be about 70 miles wide - will track coast to coast, from Oregon in the northwestern corner of the country to South Carolina in the southeast.
The rest of the country, including Pennsylvania, and north into Canada and south into South America, will experience a partial eclipse.
All of that, particularly areas farther away from the path of totality, will be at the mercy of the weather. Heavy cloud cover could block out the view of the eclipse, particularly if those clouds occur in the moments when the moon is completely blocking out the sun.
The event on Aug. 21 will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. since 1979, but that one was visible only in the northwestern corner of the country. The most recent coast-to-coast, total solar eclipse was on June 8, 1918.
Pennsylvania will be in better position for the next total solar eclipse, on April 8, 2024. The path of totality for that one will cross the U.S. from Texas to Maine.