Total Solar Eclipse to Be Visible in US for First Time in Decades

The longest duration of the total solar eclipse will be seen in southern Illinois


It’s a solar event that hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since 1979, but next summer, it will be visible in viewing areas across the country.

Called the “Great American Eclipse,” a total solar eclipse will be visible in parts of the U.S. in Aug. 21, 2017.

While all of North America and part of South America will experience, at least, a partial solar eclipse on that date, a line from the northwest coast to the southeast coast will be able to see rare solar totality, according to NASA.

A total solar eclipse is typically only visible from a small area on Earth. It marks the moment with the moon orbits Earth and moves between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun’s light.

On Aug. 21, 2017, the sun, moon and Earth will be in a direct line, making it appear in some areas as though it is night.

In the Midwest, the best places to see the event will be in far southern Illinois and parts of northern Missouri and western Kentucky, though much of that view will depend on the forecast during the event.

In fact, it’s in southern Illinois that viewers across the country will be able to see the greatest duration, when the length of the total phase lasts the longest, NASA reports. The specific location for the moment the eclipse will hit its time peak will be near Carbondale, which will likely see 2 minutes and 35 seconds of totality, according to the Great American Eclipse site. 

For those unable to see the total eclipse, they can still catch a partial eclipse, which means the sun, moon and Earth are not exactly lined up, but the sun appears to have a dark shadow on part of its surface.

The next time a total solar eclipse will take place is in 2024.

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