A total solar eclipse will occur across parts of the United States on August 21st, 2017. The path of totality will cross over the following states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
The total eclipse over the U.S. will begin at 10:15am PDT in Oregon, and the totality will end at 2:48pm EDT near the city of Charleston, South Carolina. And, according to NASA, the total eclipse will take approximately one hour and forty minutes to cross the nation.
Below is an animation compiled by NASA that plots a time series and graph of where and when the eclipse will occur, particularly the path of totality. The entire nation will be able to observe the eclipse, regardless of its phase (weather permitting).
What is a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon, and earth, align in that order. This is otherwise known as a syzygy, or the alignment of celestial bodies such as planets, moons, and stars. The solar eclipse will be a lifetime experience for some, as the eclipse will begin along the Pacific coast of Oregon at sunrise. According to astronomers and eclipse observers, that is something that has rarely been seen throughout previous total solar eclipse events.
What Causes an Eclipse?
This animation, created by NASA, shows how the sun, moon, and earth align during a solar eclipse.
Below is a schematic of the syzygy, and illustrates how the sun, moon, and earth, will perfectly align such that the moon will cast its shadow completely over the path of totality as it crosses the United States on August 21st. The next total solar eclipse will occur in the United States on April 8th, 2024.
How to Safely View the Eclipse
Preparation for the solar eclipse is necessary for viewing. The entire country will be able to view the eclipse in at least a partial phase, weather permitting. No matter if you are spectating it in the path of totality, or in its partial path, you should never look at the sun without proper eye protection.
Custom eclipse-viewing glasses can be found at several online stores, and they are necessary for observing the eclipse with the naked eye. Here is a statement issued by NASA about solar eclipse glasses.
Map of the Solar Eclipse Path on August 21, 2017
Eclipse Interest Correlates Strongly with the Path of Totality
As the eclipse date approaches, many people are searching Google for information about it. The following visualization provided by Google Trends shows the strong correlation between Google search queries about the upcoming eclipse and the path of totality.