US eclipse expected to draw crowd of millions


Around 7.4 million people could descend on the US to watch Monday’s total solar eclipse, astronomers have predicted.

The path of totality, the 60-70 mile wide line in which the total eclipse will be viewable, spans 14 US states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina.

Authorities have advised people wanting to watch to arrive two days in advance, predicting the highest number of visitors will be seen in states such as Missouri and Tennessee.

:: What to expect during Great American Eclipse

Just over 12 million Americans live inside the path of totality, but millions more people will come from abroad, including from the UK.

Graham Cluer, his wife Adrienne and friend Gwen Lawton from south London booked their trip two years ago and said that, even that early, getting a hotel was “tricky”.

The amateur astronomer has packed an entire suitcase of camera equipment, hoping to capture the moment.

“Everyone says ‘don’t take a photograph of it, just go there and enjoy’, but no, I want that photograph of the diamond ring around the Sun.”

RV traffic sits at a standstill along a two-lane road near Madras, Oregon, August 17, 2017. The rural central and eastern part of Oregon is hosting dozens of festivals to help manage the crowds -- a million visitors are expected to the region for the Monday August 21, 2017, natural phenomena US eclipse expected to draw crowd of millions US eclipse expected to draw crowd of millions be0ab1a098e3f073a493d78508863a5eec61b4243dc9143e27e18510c460af4a 4077146
Rural Oregon is hosting dozens of festivals to help manage the crowds

Comedian Jon Culshaw is among Britons who have flown out to witness the so-called Great American Eclipse.

He’s been fascinated with astronomy since the age of seven.

“A solar eclipse is the greatest sight in all of nature. It’s spectacular, inspiring, moving and there’s just nothing like it. People who’ve never seen one before see a total solar eclipse and it’s life changing. It’s really the most spectacular thing in nature you can see,” he told Sky News.

:: Where eclipse will blot out the Sun

Sky News Weather Presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar said the weather forecast will play a “big part” in the eclipse experience.

She said: “Currently the latest weather forecast for Monday indicates that the clearest skies will be across Kentucky, Missouri and inland areas of Kansas and Nebraska, whereas in the Southeast there are likely to be cloudy skies and thunderstorms.

“Viewings may be obscured for Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas too as, by the time the eclipse happens there in the early afternoon, it could be rather cloudy.”

Solar eclipse related items created by local artisans are offered for sale at the Hopkinsville Art Guild on August 16, 2017 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Hopkinsville, in Western Kentucky, is located near the point of greatest totality for the August 21 eclipse US eclipse expected to draw crowd of millions US eclipse expected to draw crowd of millions bec0f6b310843a5a0d800a3ca3e92aef1d4e7e7ac6da862df620e9ac63877544 4077147
Hopkinsville, in Kentucky, is near the point of greatest totality for the eclipse

Buzz surrounding Monday’s eclipse was palpable at London’s Greenwich Observatory.

One of its astronomers, Tom Kerss, told Sky News that eclipses have a “really mysterious quality”.

He added: “They’ve been part of the history of superstition for millennia.

“Imagine trying to understand what an eclipse was thousands of years ago.

“Now we know of course they’re perfectly safe but they’re still absolutely awesome.”

A picture taken on September 1, 2016 shows the moon moving to cover the sun for a annular solar eclipse in the sky of in Dar es Salaam. Stargazers in south and central Africa are treated to a spectacular solar eclipse on September 1, 2016 when the Moon wanders into view to make the Sun appear as a 'ring of fire', astronomers say US eclipse expected to draw crowd of millions US eclipse expected to draw crowd of millions 015866d96c47ffb3db7f5f52b43a3e020870d3a206baf18baeabecad82c275e1 4077149
A picture taken last September show a solar eclipse in the sky over Dar es Salaam

If you’re not lucky enough to be jetting off to the US you can still watch a partial solar eclipse in the UK on Monday evening at around 7.40pm.

Ghaffar said that the partial eclipse in the UK will reach its maximum at about 8pm, although only 4% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon.

She added: “As it is happening very close to sunset in the UK, the north will have the best chance of seeing it, as it’ll be lighter there for longer.

“However, due to the effects of ex-Hurricane Gert, viewings of the partial eclipse are likely to be very limited on Monday in the UK, as many areas will most probably be be cloudy, wet and windy.”

For the best view though, you can watch it live on Sky News.

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