What to know about August's total solar eclipse

The United States is the only country in the eclipse's path of totality

By Jeff Haniewich - Chief Meteorologist
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Near totality is seen during the solar eclipse at Palm Cove on Nov. 14, 2012 in Palm Cove, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

ROANOKE, Va. - Ahhhhh yes… the time is fast approaching. 

We are now just a little more than a month away from an event that many will never forget.  No, we are not talking about the Cleveland Indians winning a World Series (that’d be awesome though!).  But rather we are talking about the Great American Total Solar Eclipse. 

People from all over the world will visit the United States to see this extraordinary sight, where the moon’s shadow will touch the earth. The sun will disappear behind the moon, turning day into night and causing a pretty drastic drop in temperatures in a very short time frame.

There will be massive streams of light streaking through the sky around the silhouette of the moon, and the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, will be visible, according to space.com.  

The United States is the only country that is in the eclipse’s path of totality, making this amazing phenomenon really our baby. 

No one else will see it except for us, making it the best one in American history! 

A total solar eclipse last was seen in the continental United States in 1979, when people in the northwest part of the U.S. were able to see it.

Should you be unable to see it this time around, when will the next total solar eclipse be seen in parts of the U.S.?  April 2024. 

The future eclipse will darken the skies in parts of the Texas before moving northeast into New England.  But it will not be limited to U.S. viewers, as parts of Mexico will also catch a glimpse. 

From when the total solar eclipse makes its way on land in Oregon to when it leaves the U.S. mainland in South Carolina, it will take a little more than a 90-minute flight across our country.  It will cross parts of 12 states at a speed of about 1,700 miles per hour, and the path of totality will be around 65 to 70 miles wide.

Around 12 million people live in the path of totality, with a couple hundred million living within a day’s drive.

It's been recommended by travel experts that anyone wishing to see the eclipse who has to travel to do so should book a hotel room now. Many hotels have no availability already, and those that do are charging high prices for the eclipse -- prices that are expected to continue to rise.

Last thing: IF WATCHING THE ECLIPSE, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO WEAR EYE PROTECTION!

The only time it is safe to not wear safety glasses (called welder glasses) is when you are under totality.  Before and after that, any time there is a partial eclipse, if you look at the sun, you could easily damage your retina.  Normal, everyday sunglasses will not protect your eyes from the eclipse.

Happy viewing!

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