Skip to Main Content

Solar Eclipse - August 21, 2017: What to expect?

Observing a partial solar eclipse

In Iowa City on August 21, 2017, we will experience a partial solar eclipse. The moon will pass between the Sun and the Earth and obscure approximately 92% of the sun. Viewed through eclipse glasses or a solar telescope, it will look like this:

The partially eclipsed Sun, photographed through a telephoto lens capped with a special-purpose solar filter. The Moon covers 93% of the Sun's diameter and about 91% of its area.
Image credit: Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

Because we will not experience totality, there will not be a significant drop in temperature and the sky will not darken completely. We will not see the diamond ring effect or Bailey's beads. Consequently, if you have the opportunity, you should try to view it from the path of totality.

However, a partial eclipse is still quite spectacular, if you know what to look for! Look to the shadows to see an interesting effect:

Solar eclipse crescent shadows

During a partial eclipse, the image of the sun is projected through the shadows of trees and other objects, creating a crescent pattern. Just like a pinhole projector!