Emotional moment Adam Joseph experiences total solar eclipse in Missouri

ST. JOSEPH, Missouri (WPVI) -- The town of Saint Joseph, Missouri was one of many in the path of the totality for the solar eclipse, and that's where Action News Meteorologist Adam Joseph went to get one of the best views.

He got to see the big event just after 2 p.m. our time, which was 1 p.m. there with the time difference.

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Adam Joseph describes his eclipse experience during Action News at 6 p.m. on August 21, 2017.

St. Joseph is a city the size of Wilmington, Delaware, with a population of near 77,000.

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Watch the report from Action News at 4 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2017.

That number temporarily grew by the tens of thousands Monday thanks to the eclipse.

It was the first total eclipse there in 211 years.

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Action News Meteorologist Adam Joseph reports from St. Joseph Missouri during Action News at Noon on August 21, 2017.

For those under 38, this was the first total or partial solar eclipse in their lifetime.

Remarkably, every U.S. citizen saw a part of this eclipse. But only select locations, like St. Joe's, became destination cities for astronomers.

You may be surprised to learn that a solar eclipse actually occurs about every 18 months somewhere around the world.

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Adam Joseph visits Missouri for eclipse watch. He reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on August 20, 2017.

We know this thanks to super-computers that have a catalog of all eclipses dating back to 1999 B.C. and are predicting more to the year 3000 A.D.

That is a total span of five millennia!

Simply put, a solar eclipse happens because the moon's orbit occasionally crosses between earth and the sun.

When the moon, which is a quarter the size of earth, blocks the suns rays, its shadow is cast on earth.

Everyone in the U.S. experienced at least a partial eclipse, but only a fraction of the country saw totality, which represents the perfect alignment of the earth, moon, and sun.

When that happens, a typical sunny afternoon changes drastically.

As Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer of the Franklin Institute, puts it, "The sun is completely covered, and you see bright planets that are near the sun. You can see bright stars that are near the sun, and you have this really great experience of feeling the temperature drop."

The 70-mile-wide path of totality spanned 12 states starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina.

Missouri was the 6th state to experience totality, including the city of St. Joseph.

"We chose this city for a very good reason," said Pitts. "It directly the middle of the 70-mile path, the so-called bulls eye. This means we'll get to experience totality for a time of 2 minutes and 38 seconds, one of the longest times in the country!"

This made the trip an easy decision for both Pitts and for Action News.

"If you want to experience totality, you really should go where the totality is going to happen. If you wait for totality to happen for where you are, you will wait for several lifetimes."

The next time the geometry of the sun and earth will link with the moon's orbit and phase will be on April 8, 2024.

The path of that eclipse will bring it even closer to us in Philly, with 90% coverage, and totality in Western Pennsylvania.

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