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Challenge #82: Are You in the Path of the Solar Eclipse?

Sr. Instructional Designer
Sr. Instructional Designer

The solution to last week's Challenge can be found here!


You'll want to get this week's Challenge done quickly, especially if you want to find out if your current location is in the path of today's total solar eclipse!  


The given input file contains data on the path of the moon's shadow of the solar eclipse that will pass over North America on Aug. 21, 2017 (source: To experience totality, or the darkness of the moon's shadow, you need to be within the boundaries of the eclipse's path. Use the data below to plot the Northern, Central and Southern limits of the of the eclipse's path. Then, determine if your current location is within the path of totality. If not, what is the minimum distance from your location to being within the boundaries of totality?


*HINT: Convert geographic degrees and minutes into decimal degrees using the formula DEGREES + (MINUTES/60)

**HINT: Longitudes in North America are negative values.

***HINT: It's helpful to limit the path of totality to the boundaries of North America (optional). Download a shapefile of the United States here:

download.jpgHappy Eclipse Day!







My solution! And I even had time to run outside and check out the eclipse for myself! (With the proper approved safety eyeglasses of course, since as shown in my solution, I'm about 178 miles away from being able to see the full totality)... This was a fun one, @ChristineB!! Happy Eclipse Day, everyone!


I chose to make show the path of totality as a convex hull once the points were determined to smooth it out a bit (otherwise, it looked like the eclipse was climbing stairs across the US...). Note that originally I did it without the degree+minutes conversion, since it seemed to work when the points were in the format ## ##.#N and ### ##.#W... but converted to decimals format anyway, just to make it cleaner and to match up with the format of my location.




Alteryx Certified Partner

Great problem to get better acquainted with some of the spatial tools.


Here's my solution.


1. Parse out the longitude and latitude for the eclipse northern and southern boundaries.
2. Set the correct order of those coordinates to create the polygon.
3. Create said polygon.
4. Measure the distance.

WC82.pngMy workflowWC82 Total Solar Eclipse.pngI used Montreal and Las Vegas to give more interesting results.


Director, Customer Enablement
Director, Customer Enablement

Christine's solution has been posted!


Mapped this out for my siblings too :)  None of us were anywhere near the totality, but we all watched through safety glasses! Still such a cool event, and my children and I look forward to the next one.

My approach wasn't a novel one. Prepared the data, first parsing it


Fun challenge!



I parsed the data and created the points. Then I used poly build and poly split to get all the points on the line. Then I used find nearest to find the closest point to my geocoded address. I added some interface tools so anybody could type their address in to get their distance from the line of totality back.

Alteryx Certified Partner

This was a fun one, I spent far too long messing about with Transpose & Crosstab to get the data in a suitable order to build the PolyLine then I remember that you can build these things using the formula tool! MUST NOT FORGET THE FORMULA TOOL!


Weekly Challenge 82.png
Alteryx Certified Partner

I was avoiding this challenge for a while, but once I read up on lat/long and degrees everything fall into place.


Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 21.39.38.png

:-) so, it turns out that we were in yellowstone at the time, so we were directly in the path.   But I followed the instructions to the letter, and plotted the path vs. my current location.   No intersection at all (8816 Miles to closest point).    





Solution attached.