On Aug. 21st, 2017, the United States will witness a solar eclipse. While solar eclipses aren’t uncommon, this one is significant. Why? Not only is it a total solar eclipse, meaning the moon will completely block the sun from Earth, but it’s also visible from the continental United States – and the path of totality stretches from coast to coast! Many eclipses are only visible from remote parts of our planet, such as Antarctica or the middle of an ocean.
It’s been 38 years since a total eclipse was visible from the continental United States – and even then it was visible only in the U.S. Northwest & Canada. It has been a whopping 99 years since the last total eclipse crossed the continental U.S. from coast to coast.
If you miss this one, you won’t get another chance to see a total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. until 2024! Because the August 21st eclipse will be visible in totality only within the U.S., it has been called “The Great American Eclipse”.
Click here to find out if you’ll be able to view a partial or total eclipse from your area, and to find out when it starts and how long it will last. Many communities along the path of totality have planned viewing parties and events surrounding the eclipse. Local observatories and astronomy clubs are a great resource.
If you’re not in the path of the eclipse, don’t worry – Gray Television stations have partnered to give audiences the best seat in the house! Bookmark this page – we’ll be streaming live coverage of the eclipse on the 21st.
You should NEVER look directly at the sun, but there are many ways to safely view an eclipse. There are filters for binoculars and telescopes designed specifically for looking at the sun. Inexpensive eclipse glasses and viewers are also available for purchase. Or, you can make your own pinhole projector. You can make a tiny “theater” with a cardboard box, foil, and paper, or it can be as simple as poking a tiny hole in a paper plate. As mentioned above, you can also safely view the eclipse via Gray Television station or live stream.