Basic Astronomy

Total solar eclipse on 21st August 2017

21st August 2017 Solar eclipse animation

(Animation of the Solar eclipse. Image credit NASA.)

On 21st August 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible along a band across the entire contiguous United States. In other countries, only partial solar eclipse will be visible.

Last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States during the June 8, 1918 eclipse. So Americans are waiting for almost a century for this rare event. In February of 1979, a total solar eclipse was visible from some part of the mainland United States.

The path of totality will touch 14 states of United states covering about 16% of the area of the United States. A partial eclipse will be visible in all fifty states of USA.

The next solar eclipse will occur on 15th February 2018.

A solar eclipse take place when Moon passes between Sun and Earth and shadow of moon totally or partially obscures Sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse take place when apparent diameter of the Moon is larger than apparent diameter of the Sun, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness for few moments.


It will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the south-eastern United States since the solar eclipse of March 7, 1970.

The eclipse will be visible from a narrow corridor through the United States. The maximum width of the corridor is 115 km. The longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 41.6 seconds at 37o35'0'' N 89o7'0' W in Giant City State Park just south of Carbondale, Illinois and the greatest extent will be at 36o58'0'' N 87o40'18' W near Cerulean, Kentucky between Hopkinsville and Princeton, Kentucky. A partial solar eclipse will be seen from the much broader path of the Moon's penumbra, including all of North America, northern South America, western Europe, and Africa. The eclipse will have a magnitude of 1.0306

How to watch solar eclipse?

You need to take some precautions to watch solar eclipse, otherwise you may risk your eyes. You should never try to look directly towards Sun during eclipse with the naked eye or with any optical device, such as binoculars or a telescope.

Do not use sunglasses, smoked glass, exposed color film, X-ray films, photographic neutral density filters or Polaroid filters. They are NOT safe for your eyes.

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