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On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible from the contiguous United States for the first time since 1979. Sky watchers in North America and Hawaii will be able to see at least a partial solar eclipse on that summer day, but most people will have to travel to see the sun completely eclipsed by the moon. If you're considering making a trip to see the total solar eclipse, here's a guide to which states and cities fall inside the path. And remember that a trip to see the eclipse could also include stops at a few local attractions.
To quote noted astronomer and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, "A total eclipse of the sun belongs on everyone's bucket list." Although many people have likely had the opportunity to view a total eclipse of the moon (since those are visible over a larger area than a total solar eclipse), few people have been lucky enough to see a darkened sun adorned with the soft pearly white halo of the sun's corona — solar gases streaming millions of miles into interplanetary space — that blossoms briefly during totality. For any spot of land on Earth, there's an oft-cited average time of 375 years between total solar eclipses. That varies greatly, of course, but it emphasizes the general rarity of these events. [Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)]
Any one person's chances of witnessing a totally eclipsed sun without traveling far from home are quite small — the "path of totality" of a solar eclipse is rather narrow, so many total eclipses are visible only from remote parts of the globe. But those odds will be considerably increased late this summer for an estimated 225 million people who live within a one-day's drive of the path (averaging about 70 miles wide) of the moon's dark shadow as it sweeps from one end of the United States to the other.
On that third Monday of next August, the sun will appear to be partially obscured by the moon to viewers across all of North America and in Hawaii. Just how much of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon will depend on where you're observing from. For most people in the U.S., the moon will appear to cover at least two-thirds of the sun and in many locations it will be much more than that. Viewers located very close to the path of totality will see only a sliver of the sun remaining. If that’s the case, then most definitely you should try to make an effort to get yourself into the totality path!
This is the first time a total solar eclipse has gone from one American coast to the other since 1918. It will also be the first time in U.S. history that a total solar eclipse will make landfall exclusively on U.S. soil, meaning it will not be visible from any other country. (This technically happened in 1257 — but, of course, the United States wasn't a country way back then.)
For that reason, some are calling this upcoming celestial event the "Great American Eclipse."
So let's concentrate on those places that will be inside the path of totality.
The Shadow's PathSlide 2 of 31
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OregonSlide 4 of 31
OregonSlide 5 of 31
IdahoSlide 6 of 31
IdahoSlide 7 of 31
WyomingSlide 8 of 31