On Monday, August 21, 2017, there will be a midday total eclipse of the sun, visible from the continental U.S. Its path will cut diagonally across North America.
The band of visibility for this total solar eclipse will be 70 miles (112.6 kilometers) wide, and the states that fall into the path of totality—or the region where the moon will cover the sun entirely is Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. If you are located outside of this path, in North America, Central America, and portions of South America, you will witness a partial solar eclipse only.
The cities that will be shaded are:
- Salem, Oregon
- Boise, Idaho
- Casper, Wyoming
- Kansas City, Missouri
- Louis, Missouri
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Athens, Georgia
- Charleston, South Carolina
Partial solar eclipses occur every year, between 2 to 5 times, but total solar eclipses are rarer, happening on average once every 18 months. For some lucky observers located in the center of the path of totality, this eclipse may last up to 2 minutes, 40 seconds. For others, the duration will vary, depending on your location along the path.
Regardless of where you are, however, you must follow safety guidelines to observe the eclipse. Always wear proper eye protection, such as CE- and ISO-certified eclipse glasses. If using a telescope, be sure to use the suitable solar filters to safeguard your eyesight. Or you can build a fun, simple pin-hole projector if you wish.
Total solar eclipses are possible to observe from Earth because the moon is roughly 400 times smaller than the sun, and the sun is 400 times farther away from the moon. This provides the perfect geometry to produce this rare and spectacular event.
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