The Ultimate Guide to the Great American Eclipse

What makes less than three minutes of darkness inspire music festivals, road trips, and parties teeming across the U.S.? The great American total solar eclipse!

A once in a lifetime experience is coming to America on August 21, 2017. The first coast-to-coast total eclipse of the sun in 99 years has millions of people planning a viewing trek.

Courtesy of

Some cities on the route are having festivals and special events to try to capitalize on the tourism. Schools are planning field trips and viewing day parties.

Witnessing the sun go dark in the shadow of the moon will be a memorable and magical experience. The naked eye will be able to see an alignment of stars, planets, and constellations.

The phenomenon is motivating hospitals to stock up on blood and supplies like snake bite antidotes. It has many city officials planning to deal with an influx of traffic.

The entire continental U.S. will be able to see at least a partial eclipse, but if you want a full view, you need to be situated in the line of totality along a specific route between Oregon and South Carolina.

eclipse route in U.S.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

What Is a Total Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon orbits between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun’s light from the earth and casting its shadow.

The sun’s aura, or corona, which is not normally visible due to the brightness of the sun, becomes visible to the human eye during a total eclipse.

Eclipse Tips

  1. If you are traveling, make sure to leave well in advance of the eclipse time. Allow for congested traffic and massive crowds slowing things down. You don’t want to miss the brief event because you’re late!
  2. Get the correct eyewear. Staring into the sun is never safe for your eyes, so make sure to use ISO 12312-2 standard glasses for eye protection.
  3. Protect yourself in the crowd. Any risks associated with huge crowds will be present on eclipse day.
Source: National Park Service

How to Prepare

Ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • Are you and your family up to date on your vaccinations for infectious disease?
  • Are you planning to carry your money and belongings in a way that maximizes safety?
  • What about a full tank of gas for being stuck in traffic, and having water, blankets, and first aid materials in your trunk?
  • What is your backup plan if cell phone or internet service crashes due to the viewing throng?

No matter where you might be in the U.S. on Monday, August 21, 2017, the weather is expected to make for a beautiful once in a lifetime memory.