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Aug 17, 2017

One of you asked if there had been a previous total solar eclipse in the past 100 years.

One of you asked if there had been a previous total solar eclipse in the past 100 years.

 1979 had a total solar eclipse on Feb. 26

The red line is the area of the total eclipse, which traveled from Portland up to Canada. There would have been areas of partial visibility as it traveled.  Wikipedia.com has a nice animation.

The eclipse was in the sign of Pisces, with Mercury and the south node joining in the same sign. Mars was at the last degree of Aquarius, in the quincunx/see-saw relationship with Jupiter. Mercury was a day past a square with Neptune in Sagittarius and a day past a trine with Uranus. This means the day before, February 25, would have seen a lot of wet weather with everybody adjusting, and innovative ways of coping.

•    The headline on the Feb. 27, 1979 issue of the Southeast Missourian was 3/4 inches tall and read: "New yardstick, blizzard of 1979." The entire front page was blizzard coverage. Missourian executive editor John Blue captured the essence of the disaster in just a few sentences: "Say nothing more about the snow of 1917-1918," he wrote. "Hereafter the yardstick will be the Great Blizzard of Feb. 25, 1979.

•    ‘A big dose of awe’: Last solar eclipse here, in 1979, changed Seattle author’s life. To read the full article, please go here: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/science/a-big-dose-of-awe-last-solar-eclipse-here-in-1979-changed-seattle-authors-life/.

The person who asked for the interpretation wondered why there is so much attention to this August 2017 eclipse. Perhaps because it covers a wide swath of the United States instead of only the upper northwestern part as in 1979.

Eclipse facts

• A total solar eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth about every 18 months.
The last coast-to-coast eclipse in the U.S. was 99 years ago.
• If the moon’s diameter were 6.5 percent smaller, a total solar eclipse could never happen.
• The last total solar eclipse visible in the Pacific Northwest occurred Feb. 26, 1979.
•    After this year, the next ones close to the Northwest will be Aug. 23, 2044, in eastern British Columbia and Aug. 12, 2045, in northern California and Nevada.
•    Duration of totality varies because the distances between the Earth, sun and moon vary. The longest eclipse lasts more than 7 minutes. This year’s will last between 2 and 2.7 minutes. Source: “Eclipse: History. Science. Awe,” by Bryan Brewer; NASA; space.com