Seattle won't find itself in the path of totality for more than a century.

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Clear skies offered the Northwest a perfect view.

The spectacular total solar eclipse lasted just a few minutes. As the landscape brightened again, people spilled onto highways or decamped for their desk chairs. Some tingled with awe. Others were just happy to realize their retinas were intact.

Here’s what you need to know after eclipse 2017, and what to do next time:


Traffic ran more smoothly than expected.

No, it wasn’t easy leaving Oregon right after the historic event.

“From the moment the eclipse ended until about 8 o’clock, I-5 from Salem to Portland was full of traffic,” said Dave Thompson, an Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman. 

But officials expected worse. No road deaths were reported among eclipse travelers, Thompson said. And a million people didn’t descend on the state at once, he said.

“We don’t know how many people we got. They listened to ‘Arrive early,’ more or less,” he said. “I’m an astronomy geek. I was just waiting for this thing and loving it. But working it — I’m so glad it’s over and people are safe.”

In southwestern Washington, WSDOT’s Bart Treece said weekend traffic flowed more heavily than usual over the weekend as people traveled toward the path of totality. But traffic Monday morning was “oddly quiet,” Treece said.

After the eclipse, traffic heading north on Interstates 5, 205, 97 and 82 was heavy, but there weren’t any wrecks or issues causing serious delays.

There were “very few or any notable incidents to speak of,” Treece said. “A lot of this speaks to informed travelers who knew what they were getting into.” 

Traffic was actually better than normal in Seattle.

On Monday evening, “There was hardly any traffic during the evening commute. All travel times were below average despite a few collisions,” said Nicole Daniels, of the Washington State Department of Transportation.


If you purchased eclipse glasses vouched for by NASA (ISO 12312-2), save your glasses for your next solar viewing experience. NASA says warnings about disposing of the glasses after three years are outdated. Store them carefully (and in a place you’ll remember, possibly for decades) so they’re not damaged.

You can also donate your glasses to Astronomers Without Borders, which has announced a plan to send glasses to schools in South America and Asia before an eclipse crosses those continents in 2019.

The cardboard frames of eclipse glasses can be recycled, of course. The solar-filter lenses cannot, according to Earth911.

Relive the moment

Seattle Times photographers spread throughout the Northwest to bring you the best images and stories of the eclipse. The view of the eclipse from a Boeing 737 is worth a look.

The New York Times built a scrapbook of photos from along the path of totality. The newspaper also built a calendar of happenings in space worth a subscription for astro geeks.

PetaPixel collected NASA’s best eclipse images, including the moment the international space station photobombed the shot.

Photos from the Los Angeles Times, The Oregonian and National Geographic stand out, too.

Plan your next viewing

Bad news: Washington state won’t see a total solar eclipse this century. The next time Seattle will be in the path of totality is 2169, according to NASA maps.

If you’re dying to see another total solar eclipse in the U.S., you’ll have to wait about seven years. On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will slice through Texas, travel through the Rust Belt and then make its way into the upper reaches of the northeast continental United States.  In 2045, a coast-to-coast total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States from the beaches of California to the shores of Florida.

You could always plan a trip to Chile or Argentina in 2019 to experience totality.

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