In the summer of 2017, two weeks before Labor Day, life in America will pause. Store clerks will abandon their posts and city dwellers will climb to rooftops as the nation awaits the coming of the moon's shadow.
The total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, will be truly exceptional, the first in 99 years to cross the entire breadth of the continental United States. Like the eclipse of 1878—the subject of David Baron's book—it will thrill and inspire the nation.
"A total eclipse pulls back the curtain that is the daytime sky, exposing what is above our heads but unseen at any other time: the solar system. Suddenly, you perceive our blazing sun as never before, flanked by bright stars and planets." —David Baron, from the prologue to American Eclipse.
To view the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, you must stand within the narrow path of the moon's shadow, which will cross the country from Oregon to South Carolina.
Anyone outside of this zone, which scientists call the path of totality, will experience a partial solar eclipse—an interesting but fundamentally different event. Only inside the path, and only during those few minutes when the moon entirely covers the solar surface, is it safe to look at the sun directly. For that brief period, you will see the sun's majestic outer atmosphere, its corona.
Praise for AMERICAN ECLIPSE
“[Baron's] book carries across the spirit of eclipse watching that millions of Americans can gain by observing the 2017 total eclipse.” —Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College, Chair of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Eclipses, and a veteran of 64 solar eclipses.
For tips on where to view the eclipse, advice on how to do so safely, and maps of the path of totality, please visit the following:
General eclipse websites
- GreatAmericanEclipse.com – detailed maps and comprehensive information
- NASA Eclipse Website – includes animations, eye safety tips, and an interactive eclipse map
- Xavier Jubier – interactive map by a talented French umbraphile
- American Astronomical Society – advice for eclipse viewing, eclipse-related events, books and other resources
- NationalEclipse.com – eclipse information and merchandise
- Eclipsophile – climate statistics from meteorologist and eclipse chaser Jay Anderson
- NOAA – cloudiness map by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- MrEclipse.com – advice from "Mr. Eclipse" himself, Fred Espenak
- Ten Tips – by Alan Dyer
- How to Photograph a Total Solar Eclipse – an article in Popular Mechanics
- Nikon Helps You Get Ready to Shoot the Total Solar Eclipse
Manufacturers of eclipse glasses
Resources for libraries, schools, and families
- STAR_Net – free eclipse guide, PSA, discounted glasses
- Space Racers – a special website from the popular kids' TV show, providing information and inexpensive "eclipse kits" for families and classrooms
- Eclipse Megamovie – participate by taking photos or videos of the solar corona