Is totality worth the drive?
A question many are asking as the 2017 solar eclipse approaches. Totality is when the moon completely covers the sun leaving a thin circle of light, the corona, bursting around the lunar blackness. This celestial event will be seen along a stretch from Lincoln Beach, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., with a path width ranging from roughly 40 to 60 miles.
If you are outside of that path, you will be able to see the eclipse from your own yard — but it will be partial. This interactive from Vox shows you how much of the sun will be covered by the moon in your zip code. For Fayette County, the eclipse will reach about 94 percent coverage.
Another factor you may want to consider when picking your eclipse viewing location is weather. Whether you are in the path or not, clouds will ruin your view. The National Centers for Environmental Information has collected data on weather patterns for this time of year and has an interactive map that shows you historical visibility.
As you use these maps to help plan your route for Aug. 21, consider that totality hasn’t been visible in the United States since 1979 and won’t be visible again until 2024.
If you choose to experience only a partial solar eclipse, you will have to wear protective glasses throughout the eclipse, whereas during totality, you have the opportunity to view the phenomenon with the naked eye.