'Eclipse Across America' Series Offers Preview of 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipse illustration
This illustration shows the moon's shadow crossing the Earth during a total solar eclipse. (Image credit: CuriosityStream)

A new online documentary series follows the cross-country journey of astronomers and eclipse chasers as they reveal secret viewing spots for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse and explain the science behind the celestial event. 

"Eclipse Across America" is a four-part documentary series that explores the entire path of totality, stretching from the Oregon coast to the shores of South Carolina. The episodes also feature eclipse simulations that show skywatchers what they can expect to see in various areas along the path of totality, according to a statement from CuriosityStream, the online streaming service where the documentary can be viewed. 

"This eclipse will truly be an epic event that you definitely don't want to miss," Mark Bender, a lifelong eclipse chaser and director of the series, said in the statement. "There will be countless filmmakers ready to capture footage of the event as it happens, but this series on CuriosityStream will set you up perfectly ahead of time, before the eclipse, so you don't miss a chance to be part of this incredible opportunity." [Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)]


The Aug. 21 eclipse, also called the Great American Solar Eclipse, will sweep across the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina along a path about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. This will be the first time in nearly a century that such an eclipse has traveled the width of the U.S., and it will be the last until 2024.  

Viewers in the path of totality will see the moon move in front of the sun, briefly turning day into twilight. Throughout the U.S., skywatchers outside that path will still see a partial eclipse, in which part of the sun's disk will still be in view. 

Each of the four "Eclipse Across America" episodes features inside perspectives from NASA scientists, astronomers, local historians and lifelong eclipse chasers, according to the statement. One of the experts featured in the series is astronomer, writer and podcaster Pamela Gay. 

Skywatchers on the Oregon Coast will be treated to a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The total eclipse will be visible along a path that will stretch all the way to South Carolina. (Image credit: CuriosityStream)

The documentary series also explains how and why these celestial events occur, and shows some of the science experiments that will take place during the total solar eclipse to help astronomers learn more about the sun and the cosmos. 

"We can all appreciate and participate in the profound beauty, wonder and legacy of our universe," Elizabeth Hendricks North, president and CEO of CuriosityStream, said in the statement. "We're extremely proud to bring viewers this exclusive look at what to expect on August 21st. The hope is that no one misses out on an upcoming historic and unforgettable moment."

"Eclipse Across America" is available now to CuriosityStream subscribers. Subscriptions start at $2.99 per month, and new users can get a one-week free trial.

Editor's note: Space.com has teamed up with Simulation Curriculum to offer this awesome Eclipse Safari app to help you enjoy your eclipse experience. The free app is available for Apple and Android, and you can view it on the web. If you take an amazing photo of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, let us know! Send photos and comments to: spacephotos@space.com.

Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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Samantha Mathewson
Contributing Writer

Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.