Total solar eclipse and everything you need to know

Posted at 8:13 AM, Jul 13, 2017

A total solar eclipse will cross America from coast to coast on August 21, 2017.

It's an event the United States hasn't seen since June 8, 1918 and won't see again until 2045.

People have been looking forward to this celestial event for more than a year, booking hotels campsites and planning trips to the path of totality, where the moon will completely block out the sun. Everyone else in the United States outside of the path of totality will still get to see a partial solar eclipse.

Total solar eclipses aren't as rare as most would think. In this century, astronomers predict 68 solar eclipses, which averages out to one every year and a half.

Only a fraction of those total solar eclipses will be seen from the United States, however, with only five visible in the United States in the next 35 years.

Watching the eclipse requires special equipment since staring directly into the sun will cause permanent eye damage. A number of businesses and organizations are selling special solar eclipse glasses. Welders glasses with a number 14 rating can also work. And in a pinch, a pinhole projector will allow safe viewing of the eclipse.

Once you have a spot picked out and all the proper equipment, the only thing that could stop you is the weather.

Clouds of any kind could block the show for anyone watching, but fortunately, NOAA studied weather on August 21 from the past ten years. Using all of their data, they were able to put together an interactive map showcasing spots with the best and least likely spots for clear skies.

If all else fails, there's always the internet.

NASA will stream the eclipse all day long, so anyone can get a prime view no matter where they are and what the weather's like.

If, by chance, anyone misses this eclipse, they'll have to wait until April 8, 2024 for the next one visible in the United States or in 2019 across part of South America.

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