A Total Eclipse Is A Rare Event [Infographic]

The last total solar eclipse within the contiguous 48 United States occurred on February 26, 1979. Today’s event is the first one since 1918 where the path of darkness crosses both East and West coasts as well as the first to make landfall exclusively in the U.S. since independence in 1776.

A Total Solar Eclipse Will Make History as It Sweeps Across America

Millions of Americans will turn their eyes skyward Monday as a total solar eclipse sails across the country from coast to coast for the first time, turning day into night in more than a dozen states.

It’s the first total solar eclipse that will be seen in no other country but the U.S. since the nation’s birth in 1776. Dubbed “The Great American Eclipse,” it is also the first one visible from the contiguous U.S. since 1979.

The rare phenomenon happens when the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth and completely covers the entire face of the sun. All of North America will see the moon partially block the sun, resulting in some darkness, but only the states within the 70-mile-wide path of totality will get to witness the total eclipse.

In less than two hours, the eclipse is expected to pass through parts of 14 states, beginning on the West Coast in Oregon and ending on the East Coast in South Carolina. It will make landfall in Lincoln Beach, Ore., which will see totality for less than three minutes starting at 10:16 a.m. local time. More than 1,000 state camping sites and hotels in Oregon have been sold out for months in anticipation of the once-in-a-lifetime event, much like in other parts of the country.

Most skygazers in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina will have front-row seats to the total eclipse. Here’s a map of the total solar eclipse’s path:


There’s no saying when there will be another America-only eclipse. But those who miss out on Monday’s event can travel to parts of Argentina and Chile in July 2019, when the next total solar eclipse can be seen. A total solar eclipse won’t be seen in the U.S. again until 2024, when one comes up from Mexico and touches states from Texas up to New England.

Watch Live: The Total Solar Eclipse in 360 Degrees

Millions of people will watch as the moon completely blocks the sun during a rare total solar eclipse set to traverse the United States on Aug. 21. The eclipse will begin in Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PT and move across the country, ending at 2:44 p.m. ET near South Carolina.

If you can’t catch the eclipse in person, we have a way to make it feel like you are practically there. Along with LIFE VR, TIME is producing a 360-degree virtual reality livestream of the eclipse. You can watch live beginning at about 11:30 a.m. on TIME’s Facebook and YouTube pages, in partnership with Mesmerise Global.

Through the stream, you’ll see on-the-ground views of the total eclipse from Casper, Wyo., as well as skygazers who have gathered for the event. TIME’s editor-at-large Jeffrey Kluger will narrate throughout the livestream. An edited version of the 360-degree livestream will also be available in the LIFE VR app for iOS and Android, and on LIFE VR’s Samsung VR channel immediately following the eclipse.

TIME will also host a separate livestream of the eclipse hosted by popular space personality Amy Shira Teitel starting at 12 p.m. ET on Aug. 21 on Time.com, as well as its Facebook and YouTube pages.


Watch Live as the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Crosses the U.S.

As a total solar eclipse makes its way across the United States on Monday, TIME will livestream the rare event in a free broadcast featuring popular space personality Amy Shira Teitel and former NASA astronaut Marsha Ivins.

Teitel, a YouTube host and spaceflight historian, will anchor TIME’s broadcast from New York City, while Jeffrey Kluger, editor-at-large for TIME and the author of Apollo 8, reports from Casper, Wyo., which is in the path of totality — where the moon completely blocks out the sun. Ivins is a veteran of five space flights who has spent more than 1,300 hours in space.

The free broadcast begins at 12 p.m. ET on Monday, and will be available above on Time.com as well as TIME’s Facebook and YouTube pages. It will feature interviews and discussions about how solar eclipses work and how animals react to the celestial phenomenon.

Separately, TIME and LIFE VR will also produce a 360-degree VR livestream of the solar eclipse on TIME’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

For the first time in American history, the total solar eclipse will cross the U.S. from coast to coast, beginning in Oregon and ending in South Carolina. It’s also the first total eclipse of the sun that will be visible from the contiguous U.S. since 1979.

Watch the live broadcast above.