On August 21, the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States in 38 years (since February 26, 1979) will cross the country from the Oregon coast to Charleston, South Carolina. Tens of millions of people will have the chance to see and experience the unique wonder of the Sun being blocked out by the Moon for 2-3 minutes.
The eclipse will begin at 9:16 am in Southern Arizona, reaching full magnitude at 10:36 and ending at 12:03,
“The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon, around 70 miles wide, that will cross the U.S. from West to East. The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT. Totality begins there at 10:16 a.m. PDT. Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT. From there the lunar shadow leaves the United States at 4:09 p.m. EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds,” according to NASA.
What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon completely blocks out the light from the Sun.
The Moon’s shadow projected on the Earth is quite small. Since you need to be in the path of the shadow to see a total eclipse, total solar eclipses are visible from only a small area on Earth. Elsewhere, the eclipse will only be observed as a partial eclipse, or not visible at all.
Solar eclipses happen less than twice a year on average. During totality, stars and planets become visible due to the darkness of the sky without the Sun’s light. Total solar eclipses are also a rare opportunity to glimpse the thin solar corona; a wispy veil of ultra-hot plasma that surrounds our star.
A solar eclipse happens whenever the Moon passes directly between the Earth.
The path of the Moon’s shadow for the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse. In order to see a total solar eclipse, you must be positioned along the line of totality.