The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse is a big deal for a good reason – the celestial scene is not something you will see every day.
The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the contiguous United States was on Feb. 26, 1979, when the path of totality stretched through the northwestern states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, according to NASA.
The last five solar eclipses visible in the U.S. occurred on:
- July 11, 1991
- Feb. 26, 1979
- July 10, 1972
- March 7, 1970
- July 20, 1963
The Aug. 21 eclipse – dubbed “The Great American Eclipse” – will stretch from Oregon at its start to South Carolina in the east. The states along the path of totality will experience the darkness that comes from the moon passing in front of the sun for a little more than 2-and-a-half minutes; other sites will only experience darkness for a few seconds. The mid-time of the eclipse will be around 10:15 a.m. in Corvallis, Albany and Lebanon, Oregon, ending around 2:45 p.m. in Columbia, South Carolina.
The event is expected to bring millions of sky-watchers to the path of totality.
When is the next total solar eclipse?
If you miss the Aug. 21 eclipse, you will have to wait a while to see another one in the U.S. The next annular solar eclipse that can be seen in the continental United States will be on Oct. 14, 2023, which will be visible from Northern California to Florida. The next solar eclipse will take place April 8, 2024, which will track northeast from Texas to Maine and cross the path of the 2017 eclipse near Carbondale, Illinois.