2017 Total Solar Eclipse Who? What? Where? When? and How?
Who Can See It?
Lots of people! Everyone in the contiguous United States, in fact, everyone in North America plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see at least a partial solar eclipse, while the thin path of totality will pass through portions of 12 states.
What is It?
This celestial event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to an hour and a half, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location. For this eclipse the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.
Where Can You See It?
You can see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun, anywhere in North America (see “Who can see it?”). To see a total eclipse, where the moon fully covers the sun for a short few minutes, you must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon, around 70 miles wide, that will cross the U.S. from West to East. The first point of contact will be at Salem, Oregon at 17:17 UTC. Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. It will leave the U.S. near Charleston, South Carolina where maximum totality will occur at 6:47 UTC. Its longest duration will be at Carbondale, Illinois.
When Can You See It?
Times for partial and total phases of the eclipse vary depending on your location. This interactive eclipse map will show you times for the partial and total eclipse anywhere in the world.
How Can You See It?
You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality. That could severely hurt your eyes. However, there are numerous safe ways to view an eclipse. Click here for eclipse viewing techniques and safety.
Planning for your solar eclipse event
NISE Network resources
- pages 13-16 of Explore Science: Earth & Space 2017 Event Planning and Promotion Guide
- NISE Network online workshop: Tips for Planning Your August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse Event (RECORDED)- January 27, 2017
- NISE Network Preparing for a Partial Eclipse: An Event to Remember slides (with presenter notes)
- more NISE Network eclipse related resources
- NASA event planning resources:
- NASA maps and visualizations
more event planning resources:
- Exploratorium series of videos on safe viewing and eclipse science
- Astronomical Society of the Pacific eclipse resources
- NSTA Solar Science Insert
- Video from University of Colorado Fiske Planetarium Preparing for the Great American Eclipse August 21,2017 (suitable for public audiences)
Submit your event to NASA’s eclipse website event map
Help promote your event by submitting your details to the NASA eclipse event map
Affordable Eclipse Glasses
An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won't want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures. It is vital that you protect your eyes at all times. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are NOT safe for looking at the Sun. To date, only three manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers meet the standards for such products.
Sources for eclipse glasses:
The Exploratorium will be live streaming the solar eclipse in multiple formats including on mobile devices:
- Exploratorium live stream: https://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse
- NASA MegaCast broadcast coverage: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-live-stream
Citizen Science Projects
The 2017 solar eclipse presents many opportunities for amateur astronomers and lifelong learners to get in on the fun of doing science. This includes research projects about the sun, the moon, other sun-planet-moon systems, and even eclipses in other stellar systems.