The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
– As Viewed from Arkansas –
The deepest and arguably the best solar eclipse to cross Arkansas in almost 100 years will occur beginning around lunch time on Aug. 21. The northeastern part of Arkansas will see the deepest eclipse with almost 98% of the Sun being covered by the Moon.
The Path to Totality
Let’s begin by looking at a map of the eclipse path across the United States.
In the map above anyone inside the double red lines will see a total eclipse,. The green line is the center of the eclipse where totality will be its longest. This will be the first total solar eclipse to touch the United States this century, so if you’d like to see this eclipse at its best the closest places to Arkansas to view totality is Missouri or southern Illinois.
The Total Eclipse from Arkansas
As seen in the map below, northeast Arkansas will have the deepest eclipse at over 95% of the Sun being covered by the Moon. Those living in the southwest portions of the state around Texarkana, while still seeing a significant portion of the Sun blocked, will see less than 85% coverage.
Safely View the Eclipse
How Dark Will it Get?
This is the view of the sky during totality for viewers in Missouri. As you can see the sky becomes dark enough for the brightest planets and stars to become visible. While the sky around the Sun gets dark, the sky around the horizon will remain illuminated because in those areas the Sun will partially be uncovered. So, if you travel to see totality, look for Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the bright stars of winter.
A view of the sky at mid-eclipse as seen from central Arkansas. While only ~10% of the Sun will be uncovered that is enough to brightly illuminate the landscape. There will only be a slight to moderate drop in brightness around the Sun, with areas of the sky around the horizon staying brighter because in those areas more of the Sun’s surface is visible. The sky will take on an eerie gray polarized almost unnatural look. Realistically, though depending on your location in the state, the sky may only dim enough for Venus to become visible.
A Historical View
The last time Arkansas had an eclipse of the magnitude of this year’s eclipse was 99 years ago on June 8, 1918.
Here is a report from the daily Arkansas Gazette concerning the June 8, 1918 solar eclipse:
|Arkadelphia, June ‘8.-The total eclipse of the sun at this place was very interesting, despite the intermittent cloudiness. Just at the moment of total obscurity the clouds interfered and the view of the sun was cut off. However, the effects were startling. Darkness came on very, suddenly and lights flashed on over the city. Automobiles switched on their headlights. Lightning bugs quickly roused from the grass and scattered abroad. An old hen, with her little chickens, beat a quick retreat for the coop and she was all fussed up about being caught away from home by the darkness. Calf blatings were answered by the low of the cow. To all appearances it was night. The shadow came swiftly so that one could detect its growing darkness. To have not known tho cause of the phenomena would have been very unsettling.|
Arkansas State Eclipse Times:
- Eclipse Begins: ~11:40am – 11:55am
- Eclipse Max: ~ 1:10pm – 1:25pm
- Eclipse End: ~ 2:35pm – 2:50pm
If you are in NW Arkansas you’ll have the earlier time events, the farther SE the later the occurrence of the events.
The graphics below display the eclipse times, magnitude and (in the blue) what the eclipse will look like at maximum for select cities across the state. Notice the difference in the Sun’s appearance from Jonesboro to Texarkana.