If it seems as though nearly everyone you know watched the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, it’s because they probably did.
A University of Michigan study finds that 215 million American adults watched the eclipse, either directly or on video. That’s 88 percent of the nation’s entire population – and nearly twice as many viewers as recorded for the last Super Bowl, which drew an audience of 111 million.
“This level of public interest and engagement with a science-oriented event is unparalleled,” said Jon Miller, director of the International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, in a statement.
The study, conducted in cooperation with NASA, found that 154 million Americans watched the eclipse directly. Approximately 20 million traveled to view the total eclipse, which could only be completely seen in a band crossing the U.S. Roughly 61 million viewed the eclipse via television, video livestreams or other electronics.
Most people watched with family or friends, with only about 3 percent viewing as part of an organized group.
One in three viewers took photos or a video and about half of those shared their images on social media or email.
Miller says most adults rated the eclipse a 7.6 out of 10 for enjoyabillity, and 7 out of 10 for being educational.
The survey was conducted as part of the 2017 Michigan Scientific Literacy Study involving 2,834 adults based on a national probability sample of U.S. households.