Want to see this summer's rare total solar eclipse? Better hurry

FILE PHOTO: Man observes a solar eclipse in Sofia, Bulgaria. (Photo credit: Impact Press Group/

SEATTLE -- If you wanted to see this summer's total eclipse of the sun, but haven't made arrangements yet, time is running out.

The total solar eclipse is August 21, 2017, and will be bringing thousands of visitors to the Pacific Northwest because it hasn't happened from coast-to-coast in nearly 100 years.

How much of the event you get to see depends on where you are, if you've found a place to stay, and if the weather permits.

No matter where you are in the Seattle-area, though, you'll experience a partial eclipse.

According to meteorologist Scott Sistek, you'll see the moon block about 93% of the sun so long as the sky is clear (it'll get dark, nonetheless).

But will the sky be clear? Sistek says:

  • While chances of rainfall on any given Aug. 21 in Seattle is a little less than 20%, odds of an overcast or mostly cloudy sky in the late morning is about 56% -- mainly due to the frequent marine layers in the summer time.
  • That leaves about a 13% chance of partly cloudy skies, and the remaining 31% chance of it being mostly clear during the eclipse. That's why areas east of the Cascades -- spots much less affected by marine layers -- are so popular.

To see the total eclipse you'll need to be in a swatch called the "umbria," which passes right through Oregon - be aware that Portland and Eugene are not in the path of totality.

The best spot in Oregon, according to, is "at a rocky spot of ground just north of Newport that sticks its nose out into the Pacific." The shadow first touches land at 10:15 a.m., and totality will last for about a minute and 50 seconds in that spot.

The shadow then goes on to Dallas, Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Philomath, McMinnville, Woodburn, and Salem - all places that will experience the total eclipse.

Oregon's capitol city, Salem, is one of the best places in the country to see the total eclipse - as long as you have a place to stay.

Salem hotels are booked for August 20-21, campsites are full, and one of the last opportunities to book a viewing space is the Siuslaw National Forest.

On March 30, the Siuslaw National Forest will take 140 vehicle permit reservations for Mary's Peak and Mount Hebo.

More information on reserving spots will be posted March 27 online, with permit reservations available starting at 7 a.m. on March 30.

Don't forget: You'll need special glasses, filter, or app to see the total eclipse, and an understanding of photography to get the shot you're hoping for.

Best of luck to those hustling down to Oregon, and congratulations to those who have already made their arrangements!

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