View of solar eclipse in dark sky

It is hard to imagine that anyone could have escaped the news that there will be a total eclipse next week. This will be the first total eclipse viewable in the contiguous United States in 38 years. Many of you will be able to look up and watch this wonder of the universe from near your own home. Many more will travel to get to a closer viewpoint. It will be exciting to gather with family and friends to observe the different stages and the changes around you.

If you have a missionary serving outside of the 70-mile path the moon’s shadow will make across North America, will they be able to enjoy the eclipse as well? Well, virtually everywhere in North America, including Canada, as well as parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will be able to see the eclipse. The totality will vary, however, and becomes less complete the further north or south you are from the center point. You can see fascinating details on visibility and timing on this NASA site.

Some people have tried to attach some mystical importance to this solar event, but in reality, it is just further magnificent evidence of God’s order in the universe. We feel awe and wonder at this rare and unusual site and all of the elements that must fall into place for it to occur. What amazing things we can witness, and how blessed we are, to live in a time when so much knowledge is readily available to us.

So this coming week, you will have something new to ask your missionary about in their email. Did they get to see the eclipse? How complete was it? What time of day did it pass by? And don’t forget to mark the location on your LDS Mission Tracker. That will be a one of a kind memory you will want to make a note of.