Have you noticed that some locations get shorter lengths of eclipse totality, while others seem to have up to a whole 40 seconds longer? Whether you’re out on the Northern Coast of Oregon, or in the middle of Illinois, you’re bound to have a spectacular view as long as you’re in the path of totality! If you haven’t made your location of choice just yet, this factoid may help you choose the best case for longest viewing.
Interestingly, the total solar eclipse this year will not be the same for everyone in line with totality. Some areas will experience a totality lasting only 2 minutes, where others, such as Carbondale, IL will have theirs lasting for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Though the eclipse is the same, the amount of direct shadow is not. This is due to the curvature of the Earth. As the Sun shines on the backside of the Moon, we see the first signs of shadow touch down at the farthest tangent on the globe during the earlier part of the event. Given about an hour later, the Moon’s shadow will be passing directly across the Earth at it’s shortest point, providing a longer period of direct shadow. The difference in these two points can be a maximum of 4,000 miles!
If you’re still hoping for the longest duration of totality, you’ll be wanting to be present in the middle of the path of totality. Locations in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee will be your best bets.