Temperature may drop as much as 15° during solar eclipse

The much anticipated eclipse of 2017 is almost here. 

On August 21, the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse will occur in America in almost 100 years. It's a celestial event that has been widely publicized for more than a year, and rightfully so. A total solar eclipse is rare; what's even rarer is the fact that it will only occur on American soil for the first time since June of 1257.

For many, the eclipse is a once in a lifetime event, but many don't realize just how many surprising effects will take place when the total solar eclipse begins. 

When sunlight fades, we notice many things. Birds roost, some insects come out, the wind changes speed and/or direction and most noticeable will be the temperature drop.

You can experience this temperature drop everyday around twilight, as the sunlight begins to fade into night. But, it's significantly more noticeable during a total solar eclipse and astronomers from NASA documented this drop from a total solar eclipse that occurred in Lusaka, Zambia, in 2001.

This eclipse was also noticeable because it was the first solar eclipse of the millennium. Information from NASA showed that the temperature at the time of partiality was right around 80 degrees. As maximum eclipse approached, the temperature dropped into the upper 60s, a nearly 15-degree drop.

This drop in temperature occurs because sunlight is the earth's heat source. When this source of heat is cut off during the eclipse, the heat that we have seen will rapidly escape back into the atmosphere. Of course cloud coverage, time of year, day and the length of totality will determine just how cool we get here in Mid-Missouri.

The average high for temperatures in Mid-Missouri on August 21 are in the upper 80s and with the eclipse starting a quarter before noon, we can estimate temperatures will be in the mid-70s. That means here in Columbia and Jefferson City, we are likely to see temperatures fall into the 60s during the two minute and 37 second totality.

This temperature drop is just one of many surprising effects that will be experienced during the eclipse and why many eclipse chasers say the celestial event shouldn't be missed.

Other noticeable effects that are likely to be seen are as follows:

- Being able to see Mercury in the nighttime sky.

- Seeing the moon's shadow racing towards us at more than 1,000 miles per hour.

- Being able to witness the colors of the sunrise or sunset in every direction around us.

These are just a few of the multiple effects Mid-Missourians will get a front row seat to on Monday, August 21.

Stay with ABC 17 News and ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather as we continue to bring you more information on the 2017 total solar eclipse. You can also follow us on twitter at @ABC17stormtrack.


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