2017 Solar Eclipse

A map showing the path of the solar eclipse across the U.S.
Credit NASA

On Monday, August 21st, a swath of the U.S. will be cast into darkness as the moon crosses between the Earth and the sun, creating a total solar eclipse, the first in the U.S in 40 years.  WKSU and NPR bring you complete coverage of the preparations for the eclipse as well as the eclipse itself.

JANET KAVANDI
NASA

On Monday, the moon will cross in front of the sun and cast a shadow across the length of the U.S., sweeping east from Oregon all the way to the Carolina coast.

A narrow band between those points will experience a total eclipse, but even Ohio will see about 80 percent of the sun covered by the moon starting around 1 p.m. on Monday.

NASA is gearing up for the big event, NASA Glenn Director Janet Kavandi joins us.

illustration of solar eclipse
NASA/YOUTUBE

Here's a list of watch parties in Northeast Ohio planned for the solar eclipse on August 21st.  If you're aware of one that's not on our list, please share it with us!

On Monday, the moon will completely eclipse the sun, and people all over the U.S. will watch.

For those who have been boning up on eclipse trivia for weeks, congratulations. For everyone else, here are the things you need to know about the phenomenon.

In July of 1878, Vassar professor Maria Mitchell led a team of astronomers to the new state of Colorado to observe a total solar eclipse. In a field outside of Denver, they watched as the sun went dark and a feathery fan of bright tendrils — the solar corona — faded into view.

Anyone who gets to see the total solar eclipse on August 21 will be lucky — and humanity is lucky to live on a planet that even has this kind of celestial event.

Mercury and Venus, after all, don't even have moons. Mars has a couple, but they're too small to completely blot out the sun. Gas giants like Jupiter do have big moons, but they don't have solid surfaces where you could stand and enjoy an eclipse.

And, even with solid land and a moon, Earth only gets its gorgeous total solar eclipses because of a cosmic coincidence.

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