The total eclipse on August 21st was the first total solar eclipse in the continental US in 38 years. The last total solar eclipse viewed from the lower 48 in the United States was on Feb. 26, 1979 whose path passed through the northwestern U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota.
The unique aspect of this latest one is that it went coast to coast while the 1979 eclipse only touched five states in the Northwest.
A few fun facts on a solar eclipse:
- A solar eclipse is the lineup of the Sun, Moon and the Earth with the Moon being directly between the Earth and Sun. But did you know that an eclipse only happens on a New Moon? That is because the Moon has to be between the Sun and Earth and that only happens on a New Moon.
- The length of a total eclipse can vary because the Earth is not always the same distance from the Sun and the Moon is not always the same distance from the Earth. When you vary the distance, the shadow which the Moon casts will vary.
- Everyone in the continental US saw at least a partial eclipse.
- You can’t race the Moon’s shadow. The speed at which the Moon’s shadow moved across the US was about 2,400 mph. The elapsed time from totality in Oregon to totality in South Carolina was about 1.5 hours.
- The Moon’s orbit moves away from the Earth at about 1.5 inches per year. At this rate, scientists predict that the Moon will have moved so far away in the next 600 million years, that it will cast a shadow much smaller than today. That means – no more total eclipses. The shadow will not cover the sun.
Source: Time Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, NASA
But how did the eclipse impact business?
According to an article by small biz trends, it was a nightmare for small business in the trucking industry. While the eclipse itself only lasted a couple of minutes, the impact on traffic on key roadways caused traffic jams and a transportation nightmare for the trucking industry.
A study two years ago by The American Transportation Research Institute reported that congestion on US highways costs the trucking industry about $63.4 billion a year.
With this total eclipse passing through the core of the US and through so many major cities, it is estimated that 12 million people lived in the path and 88 million people could drive to see it within a day.
As for nexVortex, we ensured our employees had proper eye protection and as we do every week, we track the minutes of use (MOU) by our customers.
Guess what we found on Monday August 21st?
Our customers’ minutes of use was down about 10% on average compared to historical Mondays.
Looks like many businesses gave their employees the time to enjoy this historical event!