How to See the Best Total Solar Eclipse in a Century By Andrew Fazekas PUBLISHED JUNE 9, 2017


Picture of person looking at a solar eclipse

An onlooker watches an annular solar eclipse from New Mexico.

People use eclipse glasses to watch an annular solar eclipse.

Photograph by David McNew, Getty Images

A composite picture shows the sun before, during, and after a total eclipse.

Photograph by Babak Tafreshi, National Geographic Creative

A special solar filter offers a safe view of the moon covering the sun during the 2008 total solar eclipse, seen here from Siberia.

Photograph by Babak Tafreshi, National Geographic Creative

Schoolchildren wear protective glasses to watch a partial solar eclipse from London in 2015.

Photograph by Joseph Okpako, Getty Images

An annular solar eclipse is reflected in a puddle of water in Tanzania in 2016.

Photograph by DANIEL HAYDUK, AFP, Getty Images

A composite image shows the sun during an annular solar eclipse.

Photograph by Babak Tafreshi, National Geographic Creative

Sky-watchers across the United States are gearing up for the best cosmic spectacle in nearly a century, when a total solar eclipse will race over the entire country for the first time since 1918. On August 21, tens of millions of lucky people will be able to watch the moon completely cover the sun and turn day into night for a few fleeting minutes.

The main event will be visible from a relatively narrow path, starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina. In between, the total eclipse will cross multiple cities in 12 states, prompting plans for countless watch parties, cosmic-themed tours, and scientific observations. (Also see “100 Years of Eclipse-Chasing Revealed in Quirky Pictures.”)

Follow the Eclipse on Its Coast-to-Coast Tour

While many people will be traveling to be sure they can see the moon fully blot out the sun, viewers in other parts of the U.S., as well as the rest of North America and parts of Central and South America, will get to enjoy a partial eclipse, when the moon appears to take a bite out the sun.

Here’s everything you need to know to be part of this incredible sky show.

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