Total Solar Eclipse

Note: this is directed at my United States neighbors. If you live outside the US, these dates are meaningless. If you’d like to see your own eclipse, adjust your travel plans accordingly.

Nearly seven years ago, I wrote a blog post about an event so far in the future it seemed almost a lifetime away. Well, nearly one lifetime later that event is now just a mere six months away.

If you’ve never seen a total solar eclipse, you’re missing out on one of the most spectacular sky events there is. At least that’s what I’ve been told. I’ve never actually seen one.

But I’ve wanted to see one my entire life. I remember when I was just two days old I pointed up to the sky and said, “Me want see moon block sun!” I grabbed my laptop from the maternity nurse and quickly looked up all the times a total solar eclipse might cross the United States in my expected lifetime.

In reality, though, the concept first came to my young scientific attention sometime after I was ten. Had I actually made that list near the date of my birth, it still would’ve been a very short list. The first was in 1970, the second in 1979, the third . . . well, six months from now: August 21, 2017.

What’s particularly spectacular about this upcoming event isn’t just that it’s been nearly four decades since the last one to cross US soil. It’s that it’s going to be the first time in nearly a century, that the path of totality cuts across the entire country, from the Pacific to the Atlantic:


Make your travel plans now! But if for some reason you can’t make it to this once-in-a-lifetime event, fear not: you only have to wait until 2024 for the next one. Amazing that after a 38-year dry spell, the central United States will get two just seven years apart.

But if you miss that one, you’ll then have to wait until 2045. You’ve been warned!

Image credit: NASA

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