Experiencing a total solar eclipse is rare. And a solar eclipse that emcompasses the entire Continental US is even more rare. Which is why people from across the US will take a break from work and school and go outside for a glimpse of a total eclipse that's expected to last just two minutes and 40 seconds.
The eclipse is expected to make landfall near Depoe Bay, Oregon at 10:15 local time and it will eventually pass into the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina around 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Anyone who misses out on this year's eclipse will have to wait seven years until the next one in April 2024.
In total, the moon will cast its shadow over the U.S. just a little longer than the duration of a feature movie, 1h and 33 minutes.
Observers outside the direct path of the total eclipse will still see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers just part of the sun. The next total eclipse over parts of North America won't be witnessed until April 2024, then crossing from the south west, from Mexico, to the north east, towards Canada.
Luckily, for those chained to their desks, NASA has several livefeeds that will be monitoring the eclipse as it crosses the US.
According to Statista, the last eclipse to touch any part of the US occurred in July 1991, with only Hawaii experiencing it. The experience for locals was hampered by poor weather. But today’s event is even more rare, Statista explains, because it will cross the US from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast – the first to do so since 1918.
“The last total eclipse within the contiguous 48 United States occurred on February 26, 1979.
The "cosmic ballet" today is going to be the first one since 1918 where the path of darkness will cross the Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as the first that will make landfall exclusively in the U.S. since independence in 1776.”
The eclipse’s 70-mile wide path of totality, an area where the moon will completel block out the Sun, plunging the area into darkness for a few minutes, doesn’t pass through any major US cities. However, nearly 200 million Americans live within a day’s drive of the eclipse, so towns and national parks in the 12 states within the path are bracing for a massive influx of visitors.
You will find more statistics at Statista
Not sure when to start watching? Check out the eclipse timeline below: