On August 21 2017, we will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse, which is being called The Great American Total Solar Eclipse. The event will darken the skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, providing a spectacular show for everybody watching.
Where Can I See the Solar Eclipse 2017?
The totality path, where the moon will cover the sun completely, is about 70 miles wide, and it will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina, passing through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Those outside of the totality path will also be able to view the solar eclipse, but in different magnitudes. A partial solar eclipse looks like the moon took a bite out of the sun’s disk, and the closer you are to the totality path, the bigger this “bite” will be.
NASA offers an interactive map for those who want to zoom in on the path and find out the exact locations where the solar eclipse will be visible.
Space.com gathered a list of viewing parties and organized events for those interested to attend and enjoy the full experience. You can check it out here.
When can I see the solar eclipse 2017?
Since the shadow of the moon will move from west to east, the total solar eclipse will happen at different times depending on where you are in the country. The farther east you are, the later in the day totality will occur. The chart above is a good guide to know when the eclipse will happen.
The duration of the total solar eclipse depends on where you are inside the totality path, but it is estimated to last 2 minutes and 40 seconds if you’re in the center of the path. The closer you are to the edge, the shorter will be this time frame, and depending on where you are it can last just a few seconds.
How to View the Solar Eclipse?
While everybody is eager to look at this magical event, some precautions are needed. To safely watch the eclipse you should get a pair of solar viewing glasses, which make it possible for people to look directly at the sun before and after totality.
During totality, when the sun is completely covered by the moon, it’s safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye, but you should never look at a partial solar eclipse without the proper eyewear, as it can cause serious eye damage.
Sunglasses do not substitute solar viewing glasses.
If you’re taking pictures, make sure you use a solar filter. Also, be careful to never look at the sun or a partial eclipse through binoculars or camera lenses without solar filtering, as the magnified light can cause eye damage much faster.
If you’re traveling to see the total solar eclipse, keep in mind that the day will most likely have increased traffic, so plan extra travel time just to be sure.
The next time an eclipse will be visible from the US will be in 2024, so make sure you don’t miss out on this magical event!