Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21
Baily’s Beads and Sky Simulations
The point of greatest eclipse (totality phase during 2 min 40 sec) lies in Kentucky. However the point of longest duration with 2 min 41.6 sec is located in southern Illinois. Although there is not any material difference between points of greatest eclipse, maximum eclipse, and corrected longest eclipse, local boosterism will likely be intense with claims and counter-claims about the best location. More importantly, people have to understand and adopt a strategy for eclipse success factoring weather, mobility, etc. These points of longest eclipse are almost meaningless in that context, nevertheless I can envision people crowding on a farm at the cloudy point of longest duration refusing to budge even if clear skies are reachable. The eclipse whose path crosses 14 states —not just the 12 or 13 only that many wrongly advertize—, one of them, Montana, very slightly in a mountainous area so that nobody staying in this state is likely to witness the unimaginable beauty of totality, will likely create a new "Generation Eclipse" much like the March 1970 did.
Seeing the eclipse from the ground in its surrounding natural environment is the way to go and get the full experience, particularly if it’s from your home country. However for those willing to have a slightly different experience, I’ll propose one eclipse flight over the Northern Pacific Ocean (one special flight in a brand new Falcon 5X with a zenithal window was another possibility, but the certification of the aircraft has been delayed). It’s unlikely that I will offer any ground tour for a group as organizing one on an individual basis is straightforward. Moreover I’ll also have to take care of some complex scientific measurements with huge constraints.
This should be the shape of the solar corona on August 21st according to the Predictive Science, Inc. predictions. It does match quite well the shape of the solar corona one solar rotation ago, and we can also notice that we’re unlikely going to have any major sunspot.