The first total solar eclipse since 1979 will cross the continental United States on August 21, 2017, when the shadow of the Moon sweeps across the Earth, travelling from the North Pacific, south of the Aleutian Islands, to the Eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands in a little over three hours.
An eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. The Moon blocks the light of the Sun and a shadow of the Moon is cast on the Earth’s surface.
During a solar eclipse, the Moon actually casts two shadows towards Earth. One shadow is called the umbra which becomes smaller as it reaches the Earth. The second shadow is called the penumbra which becomes larger as it reaches the Earth. A total solar eclipse, or a complete blocking out of the Sun’s light, can only be seen from the area on the Earth’s surface that enters the Moon’s umbra, the smaller shadow. People viewing the eclipse from the area of the Earth’s surface that enters the penumbra, the larger shadow, will see only a partial blocking of the Sun. In a solar eclipse, the Moon moves between the earth and the Sun. When this happens, part of the Sun’s light is blocked. The sky slowly gets dark as the Moon moves in front of the Sun. When the Moon and Sun are in a perfect line, it is called a total eclipse. These are very rare. Most people only see one in their lifetime.Get ready for a total solar eclipse visible from continental U.S. in 2017. It’ll happen on Monday, August 21, 2017 – with the path of totality cross from coast to coast – the first total solar eclipse visible on U.S. soil in a generation. The total eclipse will begin as the moon’s dark umbral shadow touches down in the 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. The moon’s penumbral shadow will produce a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering most of North America.