The solar eclipse is coming and will be visible from the Lower-48 with the longest duration taking place near Carbondale, IL (a total of two minutes and 40 seconds). On August 21, 2017, the contiguous continental states will be front and center – within the path of totality, meaning complete coverage – for a total solar eclipse. This rare occasion, which has only taken place 15 times since 1503, will not be visible again until April 8, 2024, and according to NASA.gov, calculations show that it will take about 1,000 years for every geographic location in the Lower-48 to be able to view a total solar eclipse - making our location for the upcoming event especially significant.
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, which will cross the US from west to east. The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9.05am PDT. Totality begins there at 10.16am PDT. Over the next hour-and-a-half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2.48pm EDT. From there the lunar shadow leaves the US at 4.09pm EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two-minutes-and-40-seconds. (eclipse2017.nasa.gov)
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It is important to protect your eyes as looking directly at the sun without eye protection is never advised and is unsafe aside from the very brief period in which the complete solar eclipse or “totality” is taking place. You can visit NASA to view a list of authorized dealers selling eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers that are verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.
On August 21st, the solar eclipse will be broadcast live online by NASA. Viewers have the unique opportunity to view captured before, during, and after images of the eclipse taken by high-altitude balloons, spacecrafts, NASA aircrafts, and from astronauts aboard the International Space Station. An eclipse preview show from Charleston, South Carolina will begin at 12pm EDT with Solar Eclipse: Through the Eyes of NASA starting at 1pm EDT. Live video streams from NASA Television and locations across the country are available here.