The Great American Eclipse of 2017 was the first total eclipse visible in the continental U.S. in over 38 years. From travel to manufacturing and beyond, it affected lots of industries.
Here is a roundup of the winners and losers from the Eclipse of 2017.
Besides the 12 million people who already live in the path of totality, many people were expected to travel to those areas with the best viewing. Estimates in advance of the eclipse were that between 1.8 and 7.4 million people would travel to the eclipse zone. There was concern that this interest would create massive traffic problems.
However, after the eclipse, most states reported traffic was actually lighter than expected. This was due to lower visitor numbers. Also, highway officials and law enforcement planned heavily for this event. Overall, the travel industry came out on top as winners. There was a spike in the hotel and other tourism businesses, adding revenue for many.
Even if you couldn't make it in person, you were able to view the total eclipse as it made its way across the country. This was due to a live broadcast from NASA. According to their reports, as many as 40 million people tuned in on TV or online to watch the event.
Numerous organizations set up cameras in dozens of places across the country. This included positions on land and in the sky. Viewers were also able to see the large crowds that had gathered at designated eclipse watching events and see how each one reacted to the jaw-dropping experience of totality. Viewers were winners.
Everyone watching the eclipse needed a pair of eclipse glasses. These provided a safe way to look at the sun and watch as the moon made its way across its path. These glasses, which are relatively cheap to produce, were in short supply in the days leading up to August 21st. How many of these glasses were sold is anyone's guess.
According to data provided by SellerCloud, which manages the listings of merchants representing 3% of Amazon's third-party sales, there were quite a few sold. It is estimated 207,000 pairs of these glasses were sold just through their network of Amazon sellers. That would mean almost seven million eclipse glasses were sold just through Amazon alone.
SellerCloud also reported the average selling price for each unit was over $7. However, in the days leading up to the eclipse, the price increased due to demand and product scarcity.
Those glasses sold on Amazon had to be ISO certified in order to prevent counterfeit glasses from being sold. Amazon even sent a notice to sellers that a portion of their sales would be held in reserve to address potential customer returns. These sellers still were winners because of the incredible revenues they produced from these eclipse glasses.
The eclipse was also a great opportunity for scientists. This eclipse was the only chance to view the sun's corona, also known as the outer layer. Thousands of scientists traveled to the eclipse path to photograph the sun during totality. This opportunity required billions of dollars' worth of equipment.
Cameras, telescopes, balloons, and supersonic jets were used to conduct experiments and gather data during the few minutes of total darkness. The advances in technology made this the first eclipse where researchers could collect this much data.
Now, they have considerable information to study for years to come. They were also winners.
The next visible eclipse in the U.S. is seven years away. It will occur on April 8, 2024. The path of that eclipse will span Texas to Maine, crossing through the South, Midwest, the Great Lakes, and New England.
There will be even people along its path as it crosses major metropolitan areas, such as Dallas, Cleveland, and Buffalo.
Throughout this eclipse and for those in the future, it appears that everyone wins -- from people interested in the astronomical phenomenon to scientists looking for insights to retailers that see a new revenue opportunity.
In the fleeting darkness, there was considerable brightness.