The Great American Solar Eclipse has now reached totality over Oregon, and video of the milestone moment is amazing.
Video captured from a NASA G-III airplane, and from the ground in the Oregon city of Madras, shows the moon completely blocking the sun's face today (Aug. 21), in the first total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States since 1979. Visit Space.com for complete coverage of the solar eclipse today.
Oregon is the first of 14 states that lie within the "path of totality" — the 70-mile-wide (113 kilometers) strip of land where observers can see a total solar eclipse. This path goes southeast across the country to South Carolina, where the total eclipse will finally go out to sea. About 12.2 million people live along this path, according to NASA officials, but 200 million reside within a day's drive of it. [Where to See the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, State by State]
No total solar eclipse has gone coast to coast across the U.S. mainland like this since 1918.
The total eclipse hit the Oregon coast today north of the city of Newport at 1:15 p.m. EDT (1715 GMT, 10:15 a.m. local time). It will take the moon's shadow about 90 minutes to make its cross-country trek; totality will begin at 2:46 p.m. EDT (1846 GMT) for observers in McClellanville, near the South Carolina coast.
No matter where you are along the path, totality won't last long: The maximum duration will be about 2 minutes and 40 seconds, near the southern Illinois city of Carbondale.
North Americans who live outside the narrow path of totality are seeing a partial eclipse right now, which varies in coverage depending on proximity to the shadow's path. For example, the moon blots out a maximum of 99 percent of the sun's face for viewers in Portland, Oregon, but the sun will never be more than 50 percent obscured for people in Brownsville, Texas.
The partial eclipse will last much longer than the total eclipse today. The partial eclipse hit Hawaii at 11:50 a.m. EDT (1550 GMT, 5:50 a.m. local time) and will be visible in southern Florida until about 4:20 p.m. EDT (2020 GMT). Worldwide, the last views will come near Belém, Brazil, at a few minutes after 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT, 6 p.m. local time).
Weather permitting, observers in Central America, the Caribbean, northern South America, and parts of western Africa and Europe can see the partial eclipse today as well.
Reminder: It's never safe to look directly at the sun with the naked eye, except during totality. And as noted above, totality will be brief wherever you are, so make sure you get the timing right. At all other times, even during the partial eclipse, you must use eclipse glasses or some other kind of safety gear. Otherwise, permanent and serious eye damage can result.