Skip to main content

In exactly one year, we’ll bear witness to the “Great American Total Solar Eclipse”

total solar eclipse
Get your sunglasses ready. There’s a giant solar eclipse headed our way, and it’s slated to be the biggest and best … ever. Dubbed the “Great American Total Solar Eclipse,” NASA says that this natural phenomenon is precisely a year away.

On August 21, “a total eclipse of the Sun [will be] visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses the United States of America,” the space agency writes. “The path of the Moon’s umbral shadow begins in northern Pacific and crosses the USA from west to east through parts of the following states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina,” NASA continues. “The Moon’s penumbral shadow produces a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering most of North America.”

Related Videos

In Oregon, where the eclipse is to start, organizers have already begun making plans for the Oregon SolarFest, and calling the event “a rare, mind-blowing cosmic experience.” Indeed, the historical eclipse is said to be the first total eclipse visible exclusively in the U.S. since the nation’s founding in 1776. Moreover, for the first time in nearly a century (99 years to be exact), this eclipse will make its way across the entirety of the country. It’s one of the few occasions in which such a sight will be so easily accessible.

The eclipse will result from the moon coming directly between the sun and the Earth, causing the moon’s shadow to fall upon our planet. And while this shadow will be moving very quickly, you’ll still have about two to three minutes (at best) to catch the eclipse before it moves on.

If you’re in Idaho Falls; Casper, Wyoming; Lincoln, Nebraska; Columbia, Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; and Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, you’re one of the lucky few who will be directly in the path of the eclipse. So get excited, friends. This time next year will see us witnessing something spectacular.

Editors' Recommendations

Ditch the glasses and hit for a safe, 360-degree total solar eclipse stream
total solar eclipse

CNN recently teamed up with Volvo to provide a live, safe way to watch the total solar eclipse moving across North America on August 21. Right now, CNN provides a map that shows a blue path stretching west to east indicating areas that will see a perfect solar eclipse. This line starts on the shores of Oregon at 9:06 a.m. Pacific Time, and ends on the shores of South Carolina at 4:06 p.m. Eastern Time, spanning 14 states in total.

Of course, if you are living toward the top and bottom of the United States, you will only see a partial crescent-shaped solar eclipse. But CNN and Volvo have your back, as those residents can jump on CNN’s website or use one of CNN's apps to see the sun fully blocked from coast to coast. CNN will have seven points established along the blue line using 360-degree cameras.

Read more
NASA needs your help for the upcoming full solar eclipse in the U.S.
best solar eclipse glasses

Getting a job at NASA is no walk in the park, but contributing to its upcoming science experiment could be just that easy. While we can't all be astronauts or rocket scientists, we can download NASA's new GLOBE Observer Eclipse app and record data during the upcoming full solar eclipse. The natural phenomenon, slated to take place on August 21, 2017, is expected to be one of the largest in recent memory, and will actually be the first time Americans will be able to see such an eclipse since 1979. Heralded as the "Great American Total Eclipse," it'll be visible to the residents of 14 states -- 12 will be in the direct path of the eclipse, while two will catch the edge.

And if you're one of those people, NASA wants your help. "The public will have an opportunity to participate in a nationwide science experiment by collecting cloud and temperature data from their phones," the space agency announced. "NASA’s Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program Observer (NASA GO) is a citizen science project that allows users to record observations with a free app."

Read more
If you can't view August's total solar eclipse, NASA has a treat for you
2017 solar eclipse

Millions of people across the United States will be treated to a breathtaking solar eclipse on August 21.

A total of 14 states stretching coast to coast from Oregon to South Carolina will see a total eclipse, which will include the somewhat eerie experience of more than two minutes of darkness in the middle of the day as the moon monetarily blocks the sun.

Read more