Eclipse News

2017 Total Solar Eclipse: Where to Be, When to be There – Part 2



In our last post we learned in order to view the maximum amount of the total solar eclipse in your area, you must be located within the zone of totality and be situated close to the Central Line of the zone.  In this edition we will take a closer look at Odie’s Eclipse Maps, the online tool designed to help you accomplish just that, no matter where you call home.

Follow the Path, Drop in the Zone, Jump in the Line

Once you select the region of the country in which you live from the US map on Odie’s Eclipse Maps landing page, a map of the state through which the moon’s shadow passes is displayed.  For example, if you live in Iowa and click on it, the map of Missouri will be displayed.  You have now Followed the Path to the Midwest and Dropped in the Zone of the moon’s shadow in the Show Me State.

The objective of Odie’s Eclipse Maps is to show you options for locations that are on, or close to, the Central Line.  In Odie’s scheme these are known as Jump in the Line locations and represent prime locations for viewing the total eclipse.  Each state map displays the map of the state (duh) at the top, and accordion files at the bottom that contain critical eclipse information for all locations displayed on the map.  In addition, all locations and associated data are color coded as to type.  What could be easier?

On each state map and data accordion file:

  • Follow the Path locations are cities, towns, and parks outside of the zone and require travel to view the total eclipse at all
  • Drop in the Zone locations are cities, towns and parks that are in the zone but are off the Central Line and require a bit of movement to max your eclipse experience
  • Jump in the line locations are prime eclipse viewing sites on or close to the Central Line


The Info You Need

Now that we know about the where, let’s look into the when.  As noted above, each of Odie’s Eclipse Maps state map contains important eclipse information in the accordion files located below the map, color coded as to location type.  For Jump in the Line destinations the following information is displayed when selected:

On the MO map we have selected St. Clair, a town south and west of St. Louis located right on the Central Line.  The duration of totality reflects St. Clair’s prime position under the shadow as the duration is the maximum amount visible in this region.  Odie’s Eclipse Maps also provides the time of First Contact (the beginning of the partial eclipse when the moon first touches the sun’s disk), the start and stop times of the total eclipse, and Last Contact (the end of the partial eclipse when the moon exits the sun’s disk).  Each Jump in the Line location  will show the same information when selected from the accordion file.

For those of you in the path of the moon’s umbral shadow but not close to the Central Line, the Drop in the Zone locations will direct you to the Jump in the Line destination closest to you.  In our previous post we discussed the situation in St. Louis and Kansas City, both partially in the shadow zone but near one of the limit lines of totality.  By selecting St. Louis in the Drop in the Zone accordion file we see how short the duration is there:

Odie’s Eclipse Maps confirms what we already knew, St. Louisians need to get a move on.  By travelling 38 miles to De Soto, their enjoyment of totality will be extended by 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Finally, folks located outside of the zone can still retrieve the info they need to Jump in the Line.  In the Follow the Path accordion file we have selected Mark Twain’s stomping grounds in Hannibal.  Here we can see the eclipse will max out at 97% and the closest Jump in the Line location is 86 miles away in Drake. 

In the Missouri Zone eclipse chasers from Duluth, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana can find the amount of partial eclipse they will see and the distance to the closest prime viewing location for the total solar eclipse to their hometown.

The Jump in the Line destinations on Odie’s Eclipse Maps are recommended viewing sites for maximum total eclipse viewing on the Central Line.  You will note there are thousands of cities, towns, parks and bi-ways across the country that are equally well positioned, as well as numerous towns holding eclipse events and festivals.  We will address eclipse etiquette and formulating your plans for Monday, August 21, 2017 in future posts.  The soon to be released Odie’s Eclipse Info Center will provide links to state sites, astronomy clubs, city and town  festivals, science centers, and much more, in each state touched by the moon’s shadow.





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