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tv   NBC Bay Area News at 11AM  NBC  August 21, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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good day and welcome back to our continuing special live coverage of this historical event. the first coast to coast solar eclipse our country has seen in nearly a century. as we come on the air, the total eclipse has reached about halfway across the country, 14 states from oregon to south carolina are along what they call the path of totality where the moon will block the sun in some of those states. many are experiencing at least a partial eclipse. in the next hour, we'll take you to the best spots in the country
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to see this spectacular show in the sky. we've already witnessed amazing sights from the western half of the country, including casper, wyoming where the total eclipse just passed over a few minutes ago, and oregon, the first state to experience the total eclipse when it began last hour. we have full coverage of this extraordinary moment. our team fanned out from coast to coast. our correspondents are along that path of totality, and nbc news dylan dryer and dan torres are joining us as well as nbc news space analyst steve robinson, who is in davis, california. let's kick things off by going to carbondale, illinois where the total eclipse is set to begin in less than 20 minutes. carbondale also happens to be the place where it will last the longest. nbc's kerry sanders is there. hi, kerry. >> reporter: i'm at southern university in the stands, home of the salukis and there are
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about 1500 people here. at one point the temperature was just shy of 110. it's now down to about 92 degrees. interestingly, though, that moment could be brewing here, because right now we have a cloud. everybody is hoping for the wind to blow through. i'll put my glasses on to see if we're still looking -- yep, we still have a cloud. folks here have been out here, very happy, very excited. they've seen, as the progression has happened, it's looked like -- kind of like a banana -- how would you describe what you've seen so far? >> it's like a crescent moon, but it's the sun. >> reporter: and we have a cloud. >> oh, bummer. >> reporter: there we go. nobody can predict the weather, not he'll dylan dryer, guys. she told us we would be good but we're hoping now for those clout clouds to move through. >> i was going to move on, but i
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guess dylan deserves a response. >> one cloud. we have 20 minutes. hopefully that cloud will clear out. >> let's go to charleston, south carolina, the last u.s. city in the eclipse's path of totality. that's where we find nbc's al roker on the deck of the u.s.s. yorktown museum. those are clouds i see in your background, al. >> they are, but when i put my glasses on, there's enough of a break and we're seeing a little less than a third of the sun being covered right now. it's pretty impressive. folks are looking up there. they're all oohing and ahing a bit because we have gotten some overcast and some breaks. she is a scientist at the smithsonian institute and you study weather. what can we hope to learn from this that we wouldn't normally see from satellites, things like that? >> from this eclipse we're actually testing out some str t
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instrumentation. we're trying to measure the sun in a special way we never have before. >> how about social media? is this the first eclipse that researchers helped by social media? >> there definitely is. there are things like the mega eclipse movie where they've tried to get people to upload their movies of the eclipse so we really learn about it and have citizen science going on here. >> reporter: when we see all the coronal gases, could there be problems with communications? >> not right now, unless some external gas came off, but i think we're okay right now. >> reporter: that would be cool to see. >> yes, it would be. >> reporter: i was going to ask you, kelly, once this happens with this kind of cloud cover, what will we be seeing here? >> with this kind of cloud cover, we still have patches of
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blue sky sararound. that will go completely dark. you'll see all the color in the horizon and the oranges and pinks you'll see in a sunset, so we'll still get some effect, but the real goal is to have that corona. >> reporter: we have a 20 to 25-degree temperature drop. i wonder how cool it will get here. >> we've had a little wind and it should get cooler. >> reporter: we have about a thousand people on the deck of the u.s.s. north koreatown york. >> i just name this the pac man phase now as we look at the moon working across the sun's image. nbc meteorologist dylan dryer is with us. dylan, explain how this works and how some are getting totality but folks on the edge are only getting a little bit.
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>> it all depends on where the shadow occurs across the united states. an eclipse happens when you have the orbit of the moon cross in front of the earth and the sun, so it casts a shadow on the earth. keep in mind the sun is 400 times brighter than the moon, so it's that equation that lines this up just perfectly enough where the moon totally blocks out the sun. but one reason why we don't see this every single day is because as the orbit of the moon rotates around the earth, it wobbles by about 5 degrees. sometimes the shadow is cast right into space and misses the earth completely. other times it crosses over oceans or deserts where you just don't see it, but we are in the perfect situation today for that shadow to cross from oregon right over into south carolina. and we are seeing generally clear skies for most of the country to be able to see it. now, there are different levels and different phases of the eclipse, as we've been seeing, checking in on different spots
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across the country. one of the really cool things is called bailey's beads. it happens as the moon almost completely crosses in front of the sun, but the sun's rays are just so so they pass in front of the valleys and the mountains. it's that twinkling you see before complete totality. that last bailey's bead you see looks like a diamond ring because there's one ray that comes across that valley and then we're in totality to the point where the sun is blacked out enough where you can take the glasses off and look directly at the sun, because it is totally blocked and all you see is the outer atmosphere of the sun that doesn't cause damage to your eyes. you will see all those phases and then the reverse happens as we come out of totality. >> what we first saw in oregon when they went to the total eclipse, i was somehow expecting it would get pitch black. in fact, on the horizon it looked like sunset.
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if we were to turn the camera all the way around at that moment, would it be sunset all the way around? >> yes, which is wild. it's a 360-degree sunset around you. you still have that light coming around, and although it not the direct sunlight you see when the sun isn't blocked by the moon, you're still seeing basically a 360-degree reflection of the sun on the ground, which makes it look like a 360-degree sunset or sunrise. it's really fascinating. >> we'll see that again as we work our way -- continuing working our way east during the solar eclipse. let's move to nashville, tennessee. nashville is the only city within the path of totality we've been speaking with. that's where we find meteorologist jen carfagno. jen, what's it like there? >> reporter: lester, it's getting exciting here in nashville, tennessee. in nashville, known as music city, today it's eclipse city
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and we are all things eclipse here in nashville. we are 19 minutes away from totality. we've been watching the partial. it started at 11:58 a.m., and little by little, the moon moving over the sun, taking a little bite out of it. it's been fascinating to watch. we do have some clouds here in nashville. you can see the city skyline behind me. we have some puffy, fair weather cumulus clouds, not the kind that bring rain, but they are the kind that can block the sun and the moon crossing in front of the sun. that's been obstruction for moments at a time but not in totality, to use that word. dylan was just talking about everything lining up in the universe. it's sort of a cosmic coincidence, right, that this happens over the entire north america. everyone in north america gets to view this eclipse. hawaii gets 19%. here in nashville, we'll get a
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full view solar eclipse, something that hasn't happened in 500 years. for nashville, this is a rare event. the next time a complete solar eclipse will happen in nashville, tennessee in another 500-plus years. it will be the year 2566. so this is the opportunity of a lifetime of a generation. there are celebrations all over town. at the opry last night and continuing to today, and certainly everyone here in nashville ecstatic to see the eclipse. we are now at 18 minutes away from totality, lester. >> all right, jen. thanks very much there. the last time america saw a total eclipse was 1979 and our tom brokaw was there to cover it on the "today" show. >> i was nup the mountains around sundance, utah yesterday when the eclipse was at about 95% there. there were no wolves around so i howled on my own to make sure everyone knew i was around.
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>> tom, i hope you don't howl for us. >> we're probably 45 miles north of the border with yellowstone park. i'm looking out at a great western landscape. no signs of habitation up and down east and west. we're in the mountains and it was really a spiritual moment here to see the moon move across the sun, not in totality, but the temperature dropped pretty dramatically, probably about 10 degrees, then we had late afternoon light which you couldn't help but be in awe of the glories of the universe and realize we're just a small, small part of all of that. nature, after all, does prevail. and given what we're going to politically in this country, it's probably not the worst thing to happen right now, because it did unify everyone around one event, and the event had to do with something we don't have control over, and it has control over us, lester.
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>> and tom, interesting point there. because you are in an area that is not inhabited, i'm curious, did you experience any sense of nature reacting to this, birds flying off or not flying off or anything unusual? >> reporter: no, we didn't, and it was kind of disappointing. i kept my eye on the scattered cattle down below us. one of my associates who is here with me saw a bear, but it didn't act in any unusual way. we saw a few animals on the way up. probably not as many as we would see on a normal day. this is an area that is rich in antelope and mule deer and whitetail, and the elk herd are staying up very high late into the summer because it's a lot cooler there. there was really no indication that the animals were aware of what was going on. the temperatures, i say, did drop about 10 degrees, and the afternoon light came in quite quickly and then disappeared. now we're at a part of this
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process where the moon has tasked through the sun. it was about 90% here and it's now moving on and it's probably about 35 or 40%. it was really something to witness up here in the glories of nature. >> tom brokaw. tom, good to speak with you. it sounds like an amazing experience to be where you are and witnessing this. let me quickly check back with dr. john torres. we discussed earlier the danger of looking into the sun, but for these folks in these areas where they're dodging clouds and me might feel the clouds will give them some protection -- >> absolutely not. the clouds are not going to give you protection. you can get sun burn on a cloudy day and the same thing is is happening here. >> columbia, missouri we're looking at now. >> it's beautiful. you need to keep your glasses on if it's clear regardless. until that final instant of totality, those ultraviolet rays are coming out and it can cause
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damage to the back of the eye. there are no pain receptors there and that's part of the problem. you may not know it until a day later or a month later. there's a spot there that's fuzzy or blank. you can't see things you look directly at because that's part of the vision it hits. when you think of a lens, it's like a mag ifnifying lens, you' not feeling it and it can cause permanent damage. >> important warning, and we will continue to sound that warning as this eclipse continues. let's go back to al roker in charleston, south carolina, and i know you have been dodging the clouds there looking for a view. what's the story now, al? >> we've got a bright overcast right now, lester, and i would say we are about 50% obscured looking up right now. it's like looking at a crescent moon, which is kind of cool, and we've got probably the brightest picture we've seen since this has started.
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and folks now looking up, they're watching, they've got their glasses on. what's interesting, as this gets closer to the coast, the moon's shadow is going to start moving faster. right in the center of the country is where it slows down the most, about 14 miles per hour. on the coast it gets faster and faster. we're on the deck of the u.s.s. yorktown here at patriot's point, and you can see eclipse on a warship. these kids are really enjoying it. it's really pretty impressive to see right now as this happens. and we are starting to get a little cooler now as well. temperatures are starting to drop a bit, so we are feeling a little bit less heat as this comes down. you can see clouds are all around us. showers and thunderstorms hanging offshore, and that's been good news so far. we're about 30 minutes from totality here as this moves
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along, but it really is moving at a pretty good clip, and there doesn't seem to be much in the way of disappointment. and to emphasize what the doctor said, think about a cloudy day. sometimes you end up with a sunburn. well, it's the same thing with your eyes. just because there are clouds out there doesn't mean you are going to be immune from getting ocular damage. by the way, just a side note, usually every other sunday we have brunch at a place called fred's at barney here in new york. there is a lady, her name is lee. she's 100 years old, lester. we saw her yesterday on her birthday and she told me she remembers the last coast-to identify coa coast-to-coast eclipse. she was four years old. >> i want to bring in dylan dryer.
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we saw that south-southeast buildup there. >> that's what you see. the sun heats up the ground, the warm air rises and it develops into clouds that tend to block out the sun. a majority of the country is ideal for viewing this eclipse. we have the go 16 satellite here, and we are looking at some of the darkness that has started because of that shadow of the moon crossing over. you can see in the northwest there where it starts to getç dark. that's eat clithe eclipse. >> we want to go to kerry sanders in carbondale, illinois. as we noted, they will be in the longest total period there. kerry? >> reporter: they've been cheering here because the cloud has moved. let's take a look up there. you can take a look at the picture. i put my glasses on. dylan, i think they're very happy with how your weather prediction has worked out here. they've been cheering all excited. we didn't have a view, now you have a view.
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what do you think? the cloud moved. >> it's amazing that it moved. >> reporter: what do you think of what you're looking at? >> it was really skinny before, pretty thin, but now it's going to become one of those eclipses that you see on the billboards or anything, and it's going to be completely dark, like how it's in our glasses. >> reporter: we're really close to that. we're coming up to totality. i think we're about two minutes away from totality here. sir, just look up and tell me what you think. >> it's amazing. >> reporter: what do you make of today? we just heard tom brokaw talk about how today the nation is united. how do you feel as you look around not only up, but everybody here seems to be pointed in the same direction. >> it's wonderful. too bad you can't bottle this up and take it away. >> reporter: i think he says it really well. we've got some clouds right now that are sort of slightly obscuring it, but when you put the glasses on, and i know we're looking at our special lens with
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the solar -- wait a second. oh, my gosh, look at this. is that a cloud? that might be a cloud -- listen to the booing. they're booing. we're so close to getting up to totality. two minutes -- then we'll have two minutes and 38 seconds. it is so weird. one of the things that they said would happen in totality is no matter which way you looked, you would see what appeared to be like a sunset. and i can say in the 360 degrees that i can see -- well, about 270 degrees i can see here, it does actually look like there's a sunset all over. i'm going to look back up with my goggles. no, we've got that cloud, but i can sort of through the cloud see a sliver of the sun -- >> kerry? >> yes. >> i'm looking at your view at the stadium here and it looks like total nighttime. is it dark out there now? >> reporter: are we on infrared right now? that's how dark it is.
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we've done nothing special to the lens. there you can see what looks like a sunset over there, but yes, it's just that dark out here and it's getting darker. as we look -- okay, here we go. listen to the cheer. i think it says a lot. let's listen for a moment. [ cheering ] >> reporter: folks are watching every little detail. describe what you see. >> we're actually able to see it. it's incredible. >> reporter: we had two minutes and 38 seconds, but we'll not get the full 38 because of that cloud. now we're just hoping to see that cloud move. >> exactly. >> reporter: at this little moment that you're sharing with
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the rest of the nation, what do you feel in your heart? >> it's incredible to be here amongst all these people and for everybody to come together to see this, i think, is incredible. >> reporter: i spoke to a gentleman over here that told me in a divided nation he'd like to bottle this moment up and keep it. how do you feel in a country where we have so many divisions that today, 15-plus thousand people are standing here in carbondale at this stadium are looking up and sharing this moment together? >> i think it shows how powerful we can be when we come together. even with all that's going on, you have different types of people here who came together for this moment. it's incredible, it really is. >> reporter: i'm kind of giddy and sort of in awe of this with mother nature. >> i didn't know this was possible, especially in our lifetime to be able to see something like this. it's crazy. it's incredible. >> reporter: that cloud looks like it's still moving along, lester, so it's dark. i mean, it is dark. interestingly, look over there
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and you can kind of see the sunset all along. >> dylan was describing this effect of watching a sunset, but it's literally 360 degrees around. >> let's listen again. turn around, everyone is excited as we look up. there is some cheering. we can see it through the cloud. it looks like it's going to break through. i don't know, there is a lot of hope here that we're going to see that cloud move before the moment of totality is gone. they said the longest in the country would be here at two minutes and 38 seconds. i can see it with my naked eye. it really is that corona -- wow. >> that's cool.
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>> reporter: i got to say, i'm a little giddy. it's an awesome moment. now daytime is returning. let's take a look back up there with the camera. the daytime is returning. as you look at the -- there you go. look at that. put my goggles on. there we go. so the moment of to totality was to be two minutes and 38 seconds. maybe we saw about 23 seconds of totality, but you know what, nobody here seems disappointed, lester. >> i think you got the total experience and i think we were all vicariously along for the ride there. that's a college stadium, high school stadium? >> reporter: it's a college stadium for southern illinois university, home of the fighting salukis, and they've come from all over. people have driven long distances to experience this.
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in fact, we found people in the stands that are foreign exchange students from pakistan, from afghanistan, from spain and of course all the surrounding states. i tell you what, i don't think anybody is disappointed. disa poind you didn't get the 238 seconds -- two minutes and 38 seconds. disappointed? >> no. >> reporter: it's something you feel through your body, and, of course, watching it. >> thank you for taking us on the ride. kerry sanders and folks in carbondale, illinois witnessing an incredible sight. we're going to take a short break -- no, we're not going to take a short break. we're going to stay here as the great eclipse makes its way through. it will be exiting the united states in about 20 minutes or so. al roker is standing by in charleston, south carolina. al?
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>> reporter: we have a thicker cloud cover at this point, so it's kind of obscured. when i looked at it literally 30 seconds ago, we were about three-quarters obscured, and now we are still waiting for these folks to try to come in. we got all these folks just kind of waiting. any disappointment yet? not yet? still feeling okay? all right, they're still feeling good. we've got a couple folks here. come on in. we're going to introduce you. >> douglas, chief technologist. >> gordon chin. >> reporter: nice meeting you. you guys are here. are you at all disappointed with the cloud cover at this point? >> we're not seeing much of the corona as we would like, but the glasses help, so i think we'll still see a spectacular show. >> reporter: do you still get excited about it? >> why not? all the people around, the energy. once in a lifetime activity like this. >> reporter: let me take a look up here real quickly.
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yeah, we're somewhat obscured at this point. what have we learned from all of this with all that's going on? what's the one takeaway you're hoping to come away with? >> we're trying to learn about how the corona behaves. it's the region next to the sun we can only see when it's obscured by the moon. with all the assets we have to see that dynamic behavior over a long period. the important point, even though it looks obscured here, all the instruments are above the clouds and we're getting great pictures and learning what we need to learn. >> reporter: do you think it will inspire this generation, all these young kids that are here, to really appreciate what's going on right now? >> i think it will be awe-inspiring. i'm working on a satellite called the moon reconnaisance orbiter. it usually looks down on the surface of the moon. but during the eclipse, it's
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going to take a picture of the shadow on the earth. so on totality, we should all wave at the moon and you can get your picture taken. >> reporter: that's wonderful. doctor, thanks for being with us. we really appreciate it. lester, back to you. >> we're going to steve robinson who has some shuttle flights that he's taken. have you flown in space through the shadow of the moon? would they be experiencing this in the space station? what's the view out there? >> right now there are six people in the space station right now, three americans, two russian astronauts and an italian astronaut. they have their eyes glued to the windows of the space station right now. they're south of the hudson bay in canada. they're looking south toward kentucky and tennessee, and they can watch the shadow of the totality of the eclipse marching across the united states. now, the international space station is going more than 10 times as fast as the shadow of
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the moon, so they're zooming by it and watching it from a distance, taking pictures and gathering memories for a lifetime just like everybody else. >> i can't wait to see the pictures they get from that particular view. it's moving very quickly. we often hear about the danger of solar flares that increase radiation here on earth. when you're seeing this corona, would you have a better look at that if there was storm activity on the sun? >> you would with telescopes. you would be very lucky to see that from the international space station because the crossing of the or bits bits is quick and very rare. we have a number of space telescopes in space that try to look at that, but they're not able to see very close to the sun in a way that the moon gives us by blocking out most of the sun and just getting us a look at the corona. that's what we really want to see. >> just the glimpses we've had have been simply remarkable. if you are just joining us, we are moving our way across country.
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we are watching this total eclipse. by the time it leaves the east coast, it will have gone through 14 states, but as we noted, this is a shared experience of everyone in the united states. they are all getting some level of the eclipse here. for example, here in new york, i think 70% of the coverage. i may have lost a lot of my colleagues to the outside right now. we're hoping to get a glimpse of it when it reaches that point here in just a few minutes. this picture, nashville, tennessee. we've noted the entire city of noshvil nashville lies within that path of totality. it looks like they're coming out of the -- we lost the picture there. this is another view and just a sliver right now. dylan, explain this as it gets closer to the shore.
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>> it's because the earth is round. if you were to shine a flashlight on a flat piece of paper and move north to southeast, you would see it occur the same duration of time for each city. but because the earth is round, it goes slowest right in the middle of the country and then it starts to speed up again as it exits around. then once it exits across south carolina, you can see it's crossing nothing but ocean. that's why we're really fortunate to get it right here, and once it exits, that's it. maybe a few boats. >> so if you were a ship at sea, you might see it going over? >> if you were right in that spot. otherwise you miss it. >> is this the kind of stuff you see when you're studying meteorology? >> this is the stuff that fascinates me. if you take your flashlight on this little ball, if you think about the orbit around the earth, it moves north to south around 45 degrees. most often the shadow on the moon is passing out to space or
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the north or south pole. you really have to be just in the right spot for that shadow to cross over the united states, and again, it's been almost 100 years since that happened for us. >> i don't know what's more exciting, watching the images from the sun and the moon or watching the faces and the reactions of the crowds in thsez places when it reaches totality. we are going to take a short break. we will continue our coverage. charleston, south carolina certainly waiting for its moment in the sun, or should we say out of the sun there. they're dodging the clouds there. we're going to continue to watch that situation as they wait for the clouds to part there. as we said, that will be the last u.s. city that will experience this eclipse. and there is the image right now. you can see the moon taking up -- this is the view from charleston. they're getting this view, i think, below the clouds. i'm not sure where this camera is coming from here, but this is what it looks like there as the clouds continue to pass in charleston, south carolina right
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now. we are going to take a short break now and continue our coverage of the 2017 total eclipse here on nbc news. we'll be right back.
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we are back live now. this is an image of sweetwater, tennessee virtually in a total eclipse. i'm not sure of the percentage there. that may be a total eclipse as we continue our special coverage of the first coast-to-coast total eclipse to sweep our nation in nearly a century. as we noted, it's been accelerating as it works its way from the northwest, where we initially got a glimpse of it, and makes its way toward charleston, south carolina to exit the continental u.s. let's get to nbc analyst dylan dreyer. >> i want to point out the
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goes-16 satellite working across the u.s. it's fascinating to see just how quickly it's racing, moving at about 1500 miles per hour, traversing the entire united states in just 90 minutes. let's take a look at what we have on social media, because of course people will be posting pictures all day long. even the pets are protected. totally ready, although i think they're smart enough to know not to look at the sun without the glasses. but just in case, he's got them on. another picture here, taking a look at the science project where you can project the picture of the eclipse through a pinhole onto what looks like a board there, so certainly seeing that really cool picture there. it would be nice to just kind of draw that in and trace that out. we also have another picture of this girl here. look how cute that is. i mean, after all, we are looking at the sun so it's best to protect your whole face from getting any sort of sunburn because that can happen. and we also have another picture
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of the eclipse happening. this is that partial eclipse that starts to happen as the moon crosses between earth and sun and the crescent shape we're seeing there has really just taken so many people's breath away. so we will continue to see all the pictures posted on instagram and twitter. i have a feeling there will be lots of pictures to come, lester. >> it reminds me of the '50s and '60s of people using 3-d glasses and looking up. this is from raven gap, georgia where this image is coming from. that image that dylan showed us a moment ago from the satellite, showing us the shadow rershadow this is a shared experience
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where at least some of us are witnessing a partial block of the moon. it's a bit of a trouble spot in charleston, south carolina because they have clouds blocking the sun. al? >> we have some breaks in the clouds now and it's about as bright as they come this close. we're asking folks, what do you think now? >> we're loving it. came all the way from vermont for this. >> reporter: you came from vermont? wow. that's impressive. what do you think? >> amazing. >> reporter: where did you guys come from? >> florida. >> reporter: florida. what do you think? >> it's awesome. >> reporter: you're a little bit closer to the sun right now. what does it look like? >> it's really cool. >> reporter: that's the general consensus, and guys, i got to tell you, it's cooler now.
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it's about 10 degrees cooler than it was just about 30 minutes ago, and it's starting to get a little darker now. the shadows are starting to sharpen up, which is kind of interesting. let's bring in dr. jen ochen one time. doctor, we're starting to get a twilight right now. >> in totality, if it was clear, you would see a pink horizon, like dawn to dusk. >> reporter: because we're literally ringed 360 by clouds but just overhead. >> i think this will clear up. i think you brought us great luck. we'll have clear skies in a few minutes in totality. then you can take your glasses off in totality, and hopefully we'll see the corona and all these things we can't see with the naked eye otherwise. >> reporter: tell me about bailey's beads. >> the sun will shine on the
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surfaces, so as it goes into totality, these little valleys allow the sunlight to show a sparkle called bailey's beads. there is also something called the diamond. there are little rings of light that form a diamond ring. >> we're looking at clemson, south carolina right now. >> look at that. fantastic. >> we're only about five minutes from totality here. and why do our shadows -- we look right now, if you could point down, why do our shadows last like this? >> it's on a big disk and it's getting smaller and smaller, so you'll see a shadow because the source of light from the sun is getting smaller and smaller. >> as we leave, as the eclipse, as the shadow of the moon exits
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here, it's actually speeding up. why is that? >> i think it's due to the fact that we're going to be at the end of the eclipse linked to the continental united states, and it's the deeper angle that's occurring. >> reporter: and we're watching president trump right now and first lady melania trump. i think president trump has his glasses in one hand. he absolutely will need them. he's standing in the shadows right now, but i guess he's waiting. >> i think 2:42, al, is the time they reach the maximum in washington, d.c. they're not going to get total. i think something in the 80% range of coverage. >> there's the first lady now looking up. commerce secretary wilbur ross, i think, and ivanka looking there. >> that's great. >> reporter: this is what i think is interesting about this. no matter who you are, no matter how powerful you are, where you are, this is bringing everybody
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together. >> you can't watch a total eclipse by yourself. i know it's going to be a spiritual event if you do that, but it's for the community of people over here, all the energy of the people behind us. that's fantastic to share this event, once in a lifetime event with all these people. >> reporter: we almost have clear skies overhead. oh, wow, look at that. everybody really excited now. it was great before, what about now? it's almost an eerie -- we're seeing some lightning flashes just past the bridge, but yet we have clear skies above us. >> you must have brought us incredible luck. it was mostly overcast through the morning. but look, the totality will come
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out through the edge of the cloud. we may see the corona. >> reporter: have you ever seen anything like this? >> i've seen partial eclipses. the eclipse occurs on the earth every 18 months, and people actually chase the eclipse. they go to far off places. it's just the locale and seeing an incredible event like this. >> this may be the first time where we have lightning going off and a total eclipse at the same time. >> notice how dark things are becoming. >> reporter: there's the president, the president now and the first lady putting on their glasses. you know what i think is great? the president has the same cardboard glasses as everybody else. you're looking at columbia, south carolina, so they're in total eclipse right now. >> they'll get an eclipse longer than ours. we are at the southern edge of the 70-mile maximum eclipse zone, so we're going to get an
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eclipse which is about a minute 33 seconds. they get about -- >> i'm thinking they'll get 30 seconds more than we do. >> yes. and if you're at the center of this zone, you get about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. >> hey, al, i see you're about four minutes away. >> minute and a half is great. >> you're about four minutes away and it seems to be getting much darker. >> it is. it's getting darker. it's this twilight and as dr. chen said, you can't really see that 360 sunset feel because of the clouds, but as a consolation, we are on the deck of this u.s.s. yorktown. you can see what's going to be the total eclipse. with that filtered cloudiness, doctor, will we actually see the corona? >> i don't know. you know, the corona is as bright as a full moon. you don't see it in ordinary daylight because the sun
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overpowers the corona. there is a chance. it doesn't matter -- it depends how thick this cloud cover is. >> reporter: it's -- we're just about there. we're only a few minutes, lester, from this happening. and there you can see on the white house, the back of the white house, the southern portico, they're enjoying it. yes, doctor? >> anybody watching this throughout this country. you can imagine that we have about close to maybe -- >> the lightning flash is going on. you can hear the thunder. that is amazing! >> we've got lightning, thunder, an eclipse and i'm waiting for the locusts. >> you' >> reporter: you're right, lester, i don't know what's next after this. but we are very close to being a full solar eclipse.
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this is just unbelievable. everybody getting excited. >> there is a countdown soon. >> reporter: what do you think? >> it's awesome. it's amazing. it feels different. we came from savannah, georgia and on this beautiful navy ship, we're having a great time. >> reporter: do you feel a sense of community out here? >> yes, this is great. >> reporter: this is unbelievable. >> there we go. >> reporter: there it goes. >> 2:47 is the time that charleston will be in total eclipse, but you can see the light quickly dimming here. >> it really is, lester. it's this dark kind of twilight. we have filtered cloudiness right now, so we're waiting to see if we'll actually see the corona with our glasses. >> you have to take your glasses off to see the corona. once totality occurs, you can look at this -- >> reporter: almost, not quite. look at that!
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>> isn't that amazing? you can see it without the glasses at this point. >> reporter: wow. people are starting to boo with this layer of cloudiness. i think this low mid-level is going to move through fairly quickly and we will get to see it. but look at how dark it's getting. this is amazing. we're about to clear this area of clouds. >> look at that. >> reporter: everybody getting excited now. >> that's it. >> reporter: we are in totality, lester. everybody excited. you can actually see a little bit of that -- >> oh, yeah, look, al. >> reporter: there it is, there's the corona! >> look at the lights in
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charleston. >> this is incredible, isn't it? it's amazing. >> reporter: the corona, lightning flashes, and all of these people. how great is this? yeah! you're going to tell your kids about this. >> take off the glasses. >> reporter: that is unbelievable. doctor, forget your profession, how do you feel as a human? >> if you think about these things theoretically, are we seeing bailey's beads out there? >> bailey's beads, and you can know about this theoretically, but when you see it eyewitness, it is just fantastic. and to have the energy of all these people around us. >> reporter: this is happening just in time because we really do have lightning flashes all around us.
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they limited the number of people here on the deck of the u.s.s. yorktown, lester, because if there is severe weather, they have to evacuate. and this is -- we're on an aircraft carrier and we're about five or six stories up. but look how beautiful that is, the colors we're seeing. >> that's great. >> reporter: we're starting to see the other side. >> that's the diamond ring i'm talking about. >> reporter: that's the diamond ring? >> yes. >> reporter: and now suddenly the sky is starting to lighten. glasses back on, folks. glasses back on. oh, my gosh. so on a scale of 1 to 10, what would you say, todd? >> 11 or 12. >> reporter: i think so. look how much lighter the sky is over this way, how much lighter the sky is getting all of a sudden.
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this is really -- look at these kids. stephanie rule from nbc news is here. she's as giddy as a kid right now. >> al roker, this is the coolest thing i've ever seen. i can't believe i got to experience this. >> reporter: your son is here. this is really special. all of a sudden the light is coming back. how about that? oh, my golly. this is really unbelievable. my colleague, tom costello, who is on çmsnbc right now, how amazing was this? >> i tell you, it was spectacular because not only to see it with the cloud cover, right, and the break, i think we had some divine intervention or something. >> we really did. the lightning! >> on any other day with that kind of lightning storm, they would have cleared the deck of this aircraft carrier, because that was serious. both shows at once was amazing. >> reporter: we were here for this, we were all here for this. how do you feel? you were here! you have seen history!
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we saw history! >> al roker leading the cheers there in charleston. they are the first folks in the continental united states -- the last folks to witness this incredible moment, this solar eclipse that, as i said, is moving like a freight train across the country. the totality, at least, will soon be exiting the american shores and head out over the atlantic. you can still see just a sliver now of the sun as it comes back. and briefly, again, dr. john torres, al rightfully, the moment they saw the glow begin to appear, glasses back on. >> in totality, you can look at it because you're not getting the infrared rays, but the moment it disappears, you need to put them back on. if you start to notice any vision problems in the next few days up to a month from now, get them checked out. there could be damage you didn't
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know you had. >> we'll talk about the danger of standing in an open aircraft carrier in a lightning storm. we'll be back with more of our special coverage of this great event, the great solar eclipse, after this. even though the clouds, it was
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we're back now with our special live coverage the first coast to coast we are back now with our special live coverage of the eerc event of the summer, the first coast to coast eclipse to sweep across the country this century. hopefully you're able to experience this on some level. not every place saw the total eclipse, but nearly everyone touched by this experience. as people describe this is a spiritual experience they've gone through. our own kate snow is actually on vacation in oregon with her entire family, a vacation that was planned around this eclipse, and she's going to take a few
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minutes out of her vacation to share the moment. what was it like, kate? how did everyone enjoy it? was it worth it? >> reporter: lester, was unbelievable, unreal. i've never seen -- obviously never seen anything like it, never felt anything like it before, and i think it was really special to be with my entire family. this is my dad dean. it was his idea three years ago. because the first one you saw was in the '50s when you were what, 13 years old? >> i was 13 years old. >> reporter: so why did you want us all to come out? >> because it was a mind-altering experience for me back then. i'll never forget it and i wanted the whole family to experience this. >> reporter: we have my parents here, my brother, my sister, my nieces and nephews here. gabe, i want to get your feeling of what you felt when you saw the actual totality. what do you think? >> i think it was one of the greatest experiences than ever before. it was light and then it was
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evening. i'll never forget the experience i had here. >> reporter: and it was cold, too. it got chilly. i think it's hard to describe in words, lester, what it actually feels like to see it in person. i've seen it in pictures, i've seen it on tv, but to be here in person was something else. and to be with my whole family. i'm not going to make my mom cry, but it was something to be here with everybody, and we've already pledged, right, guys, that we're going to do it again in seven years. we're going to travel somewhere and we're all going to be together again. >> you may have an expanded family. the rest of us may want to join. it looks like you're having a ball. thank you, kate. we owe you an extra day of vacation. tell your boss i said it was okay. we have gadi schwartz making his way around casper, wyoming. >> just to hear this happening in all the places, i think our crew here feels the same way.
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when you hear those cheers er t erupting, you know exactly what they're going through. here on the other end of it where we've gone just past the point where it looks like this eclipse is over, you're left with almost a sense of not emptiness, but you want to see it again. you just heard kate talking about it. i have the same weird feeling knowing this is not something that happens very often, knowing that the chances of this happening here in our solar system are pretty astronomical, and knowing there is another one coming in 2024, it's something you can't put into words. you just have to chase these eclipses so i'm hoping for another one in our lifetime. ga >> gadi, thanks very much. the last one that happened was in 1929, but we don't have to wait that long for this one.
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be sure to join us for our live prime time coverage of the president addressing the nation, speaking about afghanistan and his plan going forward. the speech begins at 9:00 eastern, 6:00 pacific, so we hope you'll join us for that. from our entire news team, i'm lester holt. we'll see you tonight. until then, goodbye from new york. >> it's amazing. this is so cool. >> it's getting darker and darker. >> i feel tiny. >> and there's a bite out of the sun. >> 15 seconds. >> now we're in to tatttality as point. >> it's very exciting. i saw a slight one in ireland years ago, but it's not as good
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as this. >> it's like a once in a lifetime opportunity.
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stand by, everyone. we're live in five, four, three, 2, 1. >> i'm sorry that we have to wait around until 2017 before we can do that one again. >> wait no more, it is finally here. today is the day, the first u.s. total eclipse of the heart. d dandre whitfield is here with us today. natalie is o

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