Solar Eclipse 2017 Recap

One Sun, One Moon, One Solar Eclipse, & Whole Lot of Numbers


On the day of August 21, 2017, the temperature dropped, the sky fell dark and eerie, crickets were chirping, and the stars came out; all in the middle of the day as a path of darkness traveled 2,600 miles across the North American continent in only 90 minutes.



This natural phenomenon was, literally, a once in a lifetime experience for many, if not most, Americans. This phrase is commonly used as an exaggeration to describe an event or moment that does not frequently happen, but in all reality, viewing a total solar eclipse like this during your lifetime may truly  only happen once. The last total eclipse stretching all the way from the Pacific to the Atlantic in the United States took place in 1979.

Tension was high across America as everyone rushed to find a pair of the now infamous eclipse glasses and plan the perfect viewing spot. Schools were cancelled across the nation, workers took off work, restaurants and bars quickly put together Moon Pie desserts and Totality Cocktails, all while the Sun and the Moon were simply just doing what they always do, every day, all day for the last 4.543 billion years.
According to Forbes, there are approximately 87 million U.S. workers, making an average hourly wage of $23.86. IF every one of these employees were to stop working for 20 minutes to view this celestial event, it would have costed the employer $7.95 per employee, coming out to approximately a $694 million loss in productivity at work. A study done by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. also showed that activity between 11AM and 1PM was down 18.5% in the workplace.

Who cares about that though, right? After all, this was the first total solar eclipse in the U.S. in 38 years and the first coast-to-coast total eclipse in 99 years!

Aside from the guesstimated $694 million loss, many other companies were bringing in plenty of cash with exclusive eclipse glasses sales, special offers, and viewing events.

Missouri Central Credit Union of Lee’s Summit even gave their members the chance to ‘blackout’ their auto loan payment for 90 days! Members have until Friday, August 25th to blackout their payment!
The event was coined the Great American Eclipse because of the totality that crossed exclusively through U.S. soil all the way from the East Coast to the West.

The entire U.S. population, 325,713,000 people, to be ‘exact,’ could see at least a partial eclipse on Monday, August 21st.

The path at which the Sun was TOTALLY eclipsed touched 14 states; Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. There were 4 state capitols along the path; Salem, OR, Jefferson City, MO, Nashville, TN and Columbia, S.C. that all got to experience the moment.
The eclipse made its first contact in Madras, Oregon at 9:06 AM and ended in Columbia, South Carolina at 2:44PM.


Ready for more numbers?

More than 11 million people reside in the 70-mile path of totality, 28 million people living within 60 miles of this path. Specific to our home in Missouri, 3.4 of the 6.1 million residents in Missouri live within the narrow path of totality.

Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning gave out over 1.2 million pairs; that’s only one of the 15 NASA-approved glasses manufacturers, so the number of eclipse glasses now floating around the U.S. is not known, but it sure is A LOT.
While most of Missouri (and basically all of America) was outside staring at the sky with eclipse glasses on, some got to experience this event a little bit different. 7 babies were born at Shawnee Mission Medical Center Monday, August 21st and we’re given special eclipse onesies to forever remember the amazing day.

NASA reported that during the midpoint of their live stream, 4.4 million people were watching, making it the most viewed event in NASA history. The live footage and obviously once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse isn’t even part of the history that was made. The below map shows the impact that this astonishing event in history had on traffic across the country:



Yes, those little weird lines are, in fact, traffic jams and believe it or not, Google Maps wasn’t offering data like this back in 1918!

Hopefully, nobody tried this, but since we’re talking statistics, in order to chase the moon’s shadow, you would need to be traveling 2,400 miles per hour.

The Washington Post shared some of the best photos they found from the eclipse. One Twitter user traveled 1,100 miles from Maine to Illinois to capture the totality. Another photo that made the list was from our very own, Lee’s Summit, MO!

According to science, it takes about 375 years for a Total Solar Eclipse to happen again at a specific location, so you better find a way to preserve those glasses!