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2017 August 21

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A total eclipse of the Sun has not been seen in the continental USA for nearly two generations.
However, the upcoming 2017 USA eclipse may be the most accessible
and promoted total solar eclipse in history

1. Introduction 2. Eclipse Path 3. Eclipse Duration 4. Eclipse at Madras 5. Eclipse Sky 6. Saros

Total Eclipse Movie

Fig. 1. A Total Eclipse of the Sun. Movie shows a total solar eclipse beginning as a partial with the Moon moving from upper right toward lower left. Totality appears with bright coronal streams & red flame-like prominences. The eclipse concludes with another partial eclipse. Click image for "Why See a Total Eclipse of the Sun." Opens in new window. (Cred. H.L. Cohen)

The continental United States is currently in the midst of a nearly 40-year period that has not seen a single total eclipse of the Sun. So, for nearly two generations, traveling to other parts of the world to experience this most singular celestial event has been necessary. (See Fig. 1.)

However, for those who have never seen a total solar eclipse, 2017 will be the opportunity of a lifetime for many Americans and visitors to experience one of the most beautiful things in our natural world.

The Last Mainland Eclipse. The last total solar eclipse over the USA mainland took place back in 1979. In addition, this eclipse path occurred only over the Pacific Northwest during wintry weather. Then the path of totality headed into Canada and over Hudson's Bay. Few saw this eclipse. In addition, not since 1918 has a total solar eclipse crossed the entire USA mainland. Even then, the greatest eclipse occurred south of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands.

The Upcoming USA Eclipse. Finally in 2017 the track of a total solar eclipse will again cross the entire width of the United States mainland. The infrastructure of this modern, highly-developed nation with its advanced communication and transportation should give millions of American citizens and visitors unparalleled opportunities to view this phenomenal event from multiple locations. In addition, the point of greatest eclipse occurs over the eastern USA where approximately 40% of the mainland track lies within about ten seconds of greatest duration.

For information about weather for the eclipse see Eclipse Weather Prospects.

Read more about the Eclipse Path in Part  2.

More Info. Need to know some basics about solar eclipses or unsure why you should experience a total solar eclipse? (Note the emphasis on the word "experience" rather than "observe.") The following may help:

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