On August 21, 2017, the United States witnessed a total solar eclipse that spanned from the West Coast to the East Coast. This celestial event was more than just a scientific phenomenon; it was a unifying moment that captivated millions of people. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was in 1918, making the 2017 event a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. Here are some of the most interesting things that people experienced during the August 2017 eclipse.

The Path of Totality

The eclipse's path of totality stretched from Oregon to South Carolina, covering 14 states. This narrow band was where the sun was completely obscured by the moon, turning day into night for a brief period. People traveled from all over the world to these locations, filling up hotels and campsites months in advance.

The Great American Eclipse

The event was dubbed the "Great American Eclipse" because it was the first total solar eclipse exclusive to the U.S. since the country's founding. This led to a surge of patriotism, with many events featuring American flags and the national anthem.

Scientific Discoveries

The eclipse provided a unique opportunity for scientific research. NASA and other organizations conducted experiments to study the sun's corona, the behavior of animals during the eclipse, and the effects on Earth's atmosphere. Amateur astronomers also contributed valuable data.

Cultural Impact

The eclipse had a significant cultural impact, inspiring art, music, and literature. Many artists created works inspired by the event, and musicians composed pieces that were performed during the eclipse. The event also found its way into popular culture, with references in movies, TV shows, and social media.

The Unity Factor

In a time when the country seemed more divided than ever, the eclipse served as a unifying event. People from different backgrounds, beliefs, and political affiliations came together to witness something greater than themselves. Social media was flooded with photos, videos, and stories of families and communities sharing the experience.

The Emotional Experience

For many, the eclipse was an emotional experience. The moment the sun was completely covered by the moon, a collective gasp could be heard from crowds. Some people reported feeling a deep sense of connection with the universe, while others were moved to tears by the beauty of the event.

Economic Impact

The eclipse also had an economic impact, particularly in the areas within the path of totality. Local businesses saw a surge in customers, and eclipse-themed merchandise like glasses, t-shirts, and souvenirs sold out quickly.



The August 2017 solar eclipse was a monumental event that left an indelible mark on those who experienced it. From scientific discoveries to emotional connections, the eclipse was a multifaceted phenomenon that united people in a shared experience of awe and wonder. As we look forward to future celestial events, the 2017 eclipse serves as a reminder of the beauty and mystery of our universe, and the power it has to bring us together.

Roger Sarkis