Family | Entertainment | news | Science

The Great American Eclipse Is Happening This Month, Here Are The Best Places To See It

Daily Herald / Mirror

It is the first total solar eclipse to pass over the continental United States in 99 years.

So many people are looking forward to witnessing this incredible moment that experts are saying this special solar eclipse could be the most viewed celestial event in history!

About 12 million people live in its main path and about 88 million more Americans live within 200 miles of the eclipse's trajectory.

If you live this close to the "path of totality," it just might be worth hoping in your car for an eclipse road trip.

If you're an enthusiastic sky watcher, or if you've got little ones, why not pack up your tent and make an adventure out of it!

NASA officials explain that a single spot on Earth will only get to witness a solar eclipse every 375 years. That makes this a once-in-a-lifetime chance!

Find out where to go and how to safely watch an eclipse on the next page!

Eclipse chasers will travel all over the world to put themselves in the path of the moon's shadow. While there is a solar eclipse about every 18 months, each one is only viewable from less than half of a percent of the Earth's surface.

According to Space.com, seeing a total solar eclipse from a specific location is truly a rare event. This is because the moon's inner shadow is pretty small, so it limits the total area (on Earth) from which the total eclipse can be seen.

Americans who live anywhere near these following locations are in for an amazing show:

  • Sandhills of western Nebraska
  • Carbondale, Illinois
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Madras, Oregon
  • Snake River Valley, Idaho
  • Casper, Wyoming
  • St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Columbia, South Carolina

You'll want to be sure you've picked the best spot, because this total eclipse will only last for two precious minutes!

Anyone in the United States will see at least a partial solar eclipse. But those people who are lucky enough to be in the "path of totality" will see the total solar eclipse.

This path extends from Oregon to South Carolina and the sun could be completely obscured by the moon for as many as 2 minutes and 40 seconds!

Anyone standing within the confines of the blue and red lines will experience a once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse!iStock//Lucy Quintanilla/ Mental Floss

While there are many good places to witness this incredible phenomenon, there really is only one place to be on August 21, 2017. That place is Hopskinville, Kentucky.

This tiny town, is in a prime eclipse-viewing location. Witnesses within a few miles east and west of the town will also have about 2 minutes and 40 seconds of total visible eclipse.

Hopskinville Kentucky has been marketing itself as Eclipseville. Its prime location makes it the perfect spot to witness over 2 minutes of the incredible solar eclipse. The town of 33,000 could balloon to 150,000 people on eclipse day.Wikimedia Commons

Now that you know why and where, find out how to watch a total solar eclipse on the next page!

Eclipses happen quite regularly, but it is quite a special event to witness a total solar eclipse.

A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun, but it only partially covers the sun's disc.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers the Sun's center and the Sun's outer edges form a visible "ring of fire."

A total eclipse occurs when the moon fully blocks the Sun.

Partial Solar EclipseWikipedia
Annular EclipseWikimedia Commons
Total Solar EclipseMirror

If you want to view the sun directly, NASA recommends wearing "solar-viewing glasses, eclipse glasses or personal solar filters" (pretty much all the same thing).

The lenses on these glasses are hundreds of thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses.

They are so dark that when you look through them, the face of the sun is the only thing you can see. Amazon currently sells eclipse glasses for 40% off the regular price.

If you don't want to order a pair, you can always make your own pinhole projector. That way, you're not actually looking at the eclipse, but a projection of it.

Not only is this much safer for children, but it can be a fun activity to do as a family!

Watch this video from Boys' Life magazine, then make your own!

Where will you be during a total eclipse of the sun?

[h/t Vox / Mental Floss / Space.com / Great American Eclipse]