Are You on the Path of Totality?

August 5, 2017

Pay attention, because something spectacular is about to come your way and if you’re late by even a minute, you might just miss it! We’re talking about a total solar eclipse, and it’s happening on August 21st. Cool, right?

But what is a total solar eclipse and what makes this one so special that millions of people are swarming to specific parts of the United States to catch a glimpse of it?

A total solar eclipse is a rare sighting because it only occurs when the moon is directly between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun completely and casting a shadow on Earth.

By Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The last total solar eclipse that people living in the United States could see was on February 29th, 1979—that’s over thirty-eight years ago! But what makes this total solar eclipse even more spectacular is that this will be the first total solar eclipse to cross the span of the United States in 99 years!

What should you expect? If you’re located somewhere along the “path of totality” or the narrow 60-mile path spanning from Oregon to South Carolina, you’ll be one of the lucky few who will be treated to a total eclipse.

via NASA

For a few minutes, day will turn into night, and the moon will cover the sun, revealing only its corona. Will everyone get to see the total solar eclipse? No. But everyone (and we mean everyone!) will see at least a partial eclipse. Just remember, before you go, you should get eclipse shades from your local science museum, school, or astronomy club, and never ever look directly at the sun—doing that can seriously injure your eyes!

Here at Xyza, we’re sharing a few fun facts about eclipses in anticipation of the big day:

1) The sun’s corona is only visible during a total solar eclipse.
2) The longest viewing of the total solar eclipse will be for two minutes and forty seconds in Carbondale, Illinois
3) The next total solar eclipse that will be visible over the United States will be on April 8th, 2024.
4) According to NASA, the earliest signs of when people started paying attention to eclipses happened approximately 5,000 years ago.