On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will travel across the United States from coast to coast — and it’s going to be perhaps the biggest celestial event of the decade. A total solar eclipse, caused by the Moon passing directly between the Sun and the Earth, hasn’t crossed the US like this since 1918. People are flocking to cities along the eclipse’s path, where they’ll be able to see the Moon completely cover up the disc of the Sun. Those in the US who aren’t along the path will still be in for quite a show: every state in the lower 48 will see the majority of the Sun covered up on the 21st.
Here are tips on how to view the eclipse, as well as information about the science, events, and more surrounding this phenomenon.
Sep 27, 2017
A staggering 88 percent of American adults watched the solar eclipse on August 21st as it crossed the US. That’s 215 million people, most of whom went outside to see the event in person, according to a new study by the University of Michigan.Read Article >
About 154 million people ventured outside to watch the Moon slowly creep in front of the Sun and then cover it, either partially or in full. The astronomical event was also live streamed, and about 61 million people viewed the eclipse electronically. That’s “unparalleled” in terms of public engagement with a scientific event, said Jon Miller, director of the International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy at University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, in a statement.
Sep 3, 2017
In the days and weeks leading up to the total solar eclipse over the United States last month, there were plenty of warnings for spectators: make sure you protect your eyes and camera equipment. LensRentals, a Tennessee-based camera rental shop, rented out a number of lenses before the event and warned customers to make sure that they use solar filters. Not everyone did.Read Article >
The store posted up a series of images on its blog, showing some of the cameras that were damaged during the eclipse. Blog editor Zach Sutton wrote that they weren’t out to criticize their customers, but wanted to show what happened, and that it’s fortunate that they have a repairs department.
Maybe you didn’t plan ahead for the eclipse and found yourself in the same situation I did: unprepared. I expected to be traveling on Monday, so when I found myself under the clear Boston sky as the Moon began to move in front of the Sun, I had no eclipse glasses, no supplies to make a pinhole projector, and no decent camera. All I had was my iPhone SE in its grubby plastic case.Read Article >
If you’re like me, you might have taken as many photos as you could with your setup, and discovered some weird surprises in the shots. In my case, there were eclipse-shaped bright spots in the sky — which Business Insider ID’d as lens flares. I was wondering what they were doing there, so I turned to a colleague who knows more about photography than I do: Verge senior editor Dan Seifert, who was a photographer and ran multiple camera shops before becoming a journalist. Here’s our non-exhaustive accounting of image artifacts that may be showing up in your eclipse photos.
Aug 22, 2017
I was sitting on the grassy floor of a wooded park in Nashville, Tennessee, surrounded by dozens of strangers, and we were all looking up at the sky in a panic. It was 1:21PM Central Time. We were just six minutes away from the event we’d all come to see: the total solar eclipse. And there was a giant, gray cloud lingering perilously close to the Sun’s edge.Read Article >
In the next couple of minutes, the cloud inched closer to the Sun, and a lump caught in my throat. “What do we want to do?” I asked my friend Miriam, wide-eyed. The two of us had been in the park since 10AM, and our DSLR cameras had been set up on tripods pointed directly at the Sun for hours. We came to snap an image of totality, the point when the Moon completely covers up the disc of the Sun on its orbit around the Earth. Suddenly, it occurred to me that we may actually miss this, all thanks to a cloud.
Aug 22, 2017
Yesterday, the US experienced one of the biggest astronomical events of the decade: a total solar eclipse that crossed the country from coast to coast for the first time since 1918. If you’re heartbroken you missed it, don’t worry. You ought to get a few other chances over your lifetime.Read Article >
Total solar eclipses happen every 18 months or so, when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun on its orbit around our planet. If you’re in the direct path of the Moon’s shadow — called the path of totality — you will see the Sun go dark. Often, however, the path of totality goes over the ocean or Antarctica. So that’s why whenever a total solar eclipse crosses easily reachable areas, it’s such a big deal. And one that shouldn’t be missed.
Aug 22, 2017
Standing as testament to the enduring power of natural events to captivate human imaginations, yesterday’s eclipse managed to achieve a rare feat in dropping Netflix US viewer figures by 10 percent while it was happening. That statistical curio was revealed in a pair of overdramatized tweets from a Netflix Twitter account apparently wrecked by feelings of jealousy and abandonment:Read Article >
Visible across the continental United States (provided clouds didn’t spoil your local party), the August 21st eclipse was the first of its kind for the country since way back in 1918. The next one is set to happen a little bit sooner, in April 2024, though it is expected to travel up through Mexico and mostly cover the Eastern United States. So yes, this last one was definitely an event worth pausing your binge sessions for.
Aug 21, 2017
Last Tuesday the local groceries ran out of toilet paper. The people of Hopkinsville, Kentucky — my hometown — were so worried that eclipse tourism would overrun the city that they rushed to Walmart and Kroger. Over a two hour period, every lane at Kroger had a line. “We’re selling everything,” said assistant manager Wilbert Vaughn. Shelf after shelf was missing stock: We’re all out of Crisco, we’re low on sour cream, no more sweet tea.Read Article >
Hopkinsville is point of the greatest eclipse for the total solar eclipse that swept the country today. NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak has seen 20 of them. "There is absolutely nothing that compares to seeing a total eclipse,” he says. Moments after watching my first, I agree.
Aug 21, 2017
The 2017 solar eclipse has come and gone! Now, it’s time to stare in awe at all the amazing images captured by NASA, the European Space Agency, their satellites, and the luckiest folks off Earth: the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.Read Article >
Yes, while you were pinching and zooming on your phone trying to nail the perfect Instagram moment, space agencies around the world were gathering the kinds of eclipse images that we could never dream of capturing ourselves.
Aug 21, 2017
On August 21st, the great American eclipse will descend upon the United States, casting its shadow from coast to coast for the first time since 1918. It’s perhaps one of the biggest astronomical events of the decade. And we are here to help you prepare for it.Read Article >
Whether you’re traveling to an optimal viewing place or staying put where you live, here’s what you need to know about the big day.
Aug 20, 2017
It’s the Super Bowl of the Solar System! On Monday, August 21st, the Moon will obscure the Sun. People across the US will travel to the narrow band of land where the Sun will be completely blocked out, but even if you’re far away and watching from home you’ll see something special happen in the sky.Read Article >
The eclipse won’t last long, so you’ll want to be sure you’re ready to watch at the precise time when it will peak. Our friends at Vox made a handy eclipse-watching tool that tells you exactly when you should be outside to see the action. Just type your zip code into the tool below to see what time to watch and what your eclipse will look like. Just make sure you don’t look at the Sun without the proper safety equipment. (Seriously, even if you have to do it yourself, protect your eyes.)
Aug 19, 2017
The total solar eclipse set to take place on August 21st is going to be a sight to behold — provided you have the proper protection for your eyes and camera. Looking at the Sun can cause permanent damage to your eyes, but if you’re not careful, you can also destroy your camera.Read Article >
The employees from Dubuque, Iowa’s Every Photo Store decided to demonstrate what would happen if you try and and shoot the eclipse without a filter for your camera. They hooked up a DSLR body to a Canon 400mm f/2.8 IS II lens, and set shutter to six seconds. In that time, the light began to melt the camera’s innards.
Aug 19, 2017
When the Moon blotted out the Sun over Zimbabwe during a 2001 eclipse, a pod of sleeping hippos woke up from their nap. Astronomer Paul Murdin was part of a team of 250 people documenting the eclipse’s effects, and he had been put on hippo duty. He watched the massive mammals stand and start their evening trek from an island in the middle of the Zambezi river to the water’s edge.Read Article >
The hippos were still walking through the water when the Sun returned, and they spent the rest of the afternoon mostly submerged and looking disgruntled, Murdin later reported. The next day, their daily routine seemed off to him. Two lions in the area, however, appeared unperturbed by the daytime darkness.
Aug 18, 2017
In 2012, Elise Ricard was on an Australian beach, watching the Moon obscure the Sun in a total solar eclipse, when she noticed something weird: the birds in the rainforest behind her had fallen silent. “It was a great feeling of unity with the other forms of life on this planet,” Ricard says. “There were other living things on the planet that were responding to something celestial.”Read Article >
On Monday, Americans will have the same rare opportunity to watch how the natural world reacts when the Sun goes dark. Total solar eclipses are known for making some animals go haywire, and Ricard wants people to record what they’re seeing. She works at the California Academy of Sciences, and she’s spearheading a citizen science project called Life Responds. Powered by the app iNaturalist, Life Responds invites eclipse watchers to document how plants and animals react to the unusual midday darkness.
Aug 18, 2017
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a solar eclipse coming! But while eclipses are cool, unless you’re in the path of totality — i.e., the part of the country where the Moon will completely obstruct the Sun — you’ll need to take some safety precautions to safely view the eclipse. (Even then, you’ll still need to wear glasses before and after the moments when it’s totally blocked.) After all, just because part of the Sun is covered doesn’t mean you should look directly at the uncovered part of it. Eclipse glasses are a good way to go, but counterfeit models are making rounds on sites like Amazon. Plus, even if you buy certified ones, they might not make it to you in time.Read Article >
Fortunately, there’s another option: a pinhole projector. Putting together a pinhole projector is about as easy as it gets, and while it doesn’t quite have the same “wow factor” as looking directly at the partially blocked Sun, it’ll still let you safely view what’s happening without potentially going blind.
The total solar eclipse on August 21st is promising to be a life-changing event. For the first time in 99 years, the path of totality will cross the length of the continental US from coast to coast. And what better way to view it than reclining in the leather-draped comfort of your Volvo SUV?Read Article >
The Swedish automaker manufactured a batch of oversized sun shades that can be clipped on to the 2018 XC60 SUV’s panoramic moonroof using magnets. The shade is ISO-certified 12312-2 material, allowing you watch the eclipse without protective eyewear or going blind. Volvo has distributed them to dealerships in states that are in the eclipse’s path of totality, including Oregon, Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, and South Carolina. The viewers are supposed to be free, which is a small comfort given the overwhelming message of this product flies directly in the face of the spirit of the eclipse.
Aug 17, 2017
Twitter has partnered with The Weather Channel to live stream next week’s total solar eclipse as the Moon’s shadow travels from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States. The stream will start at 12PM ET on Monday, August 21st, and it will include live footage from cities in Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming. This is roughly the path of totality, meaning when the Moon will completely block out the Sun.Read Article >
So if you’re not planning on traveling to a point along the path of totality and being there, with a pair of solar filter sunglasses at the right time, then a Twitter live stream is your next best bet. The stream will be hosted by meteorologists Ari Sarsalari and Domenica Davis, and it will also feature “high-resolution and aerial drone footage from Weather’s network of storm trackers,” and real-time eclipse footage courtesy of NASA. You’ll be able to find the stream starting at noon on Monday on The Weather Channel app, on the company’s website Weather.com, and on Twitter with this link.
The last time a total solar eclipse crossed the US coast to coast, there were only 6.2 million registered motor vehicles in the entire country, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Automobiles were still a relatively new fad in 1918, so when the Sun, Earth, and Moon found themselves in alignment that year, the chances of dying in an eclipse-related auto accident was statistically pretty low.Read Article >
That’s not so for this year’s total solar eclipse, which is set to occur on August 21st. This may explain why federal transportation officials are so alarmed: there were 263.6 million registered vehicles in the US in 2015, and probably a few million more today. More drivers during an eclipse means more chances for distraction, which means more fender benders, or worse. In 2016, traffic fatalities in the US increased 6 percent from the previous year, to 40,200. The two-year increase — 14 percent from 2014 to 2016 — was the largest in more than half a century.
Aug 16, 2017
Next week’s total solar eclipse isn’t just a chance to see a cool natural phenomenon, it’s a rare opportunity for all kinds of science experiments. The path of a total solar eclipse hasn’t touched the US since 1979. Sure, there’ll be another solar eclipse in 2019, but it’ll mostly be over the Pacific Ocean.Read Article >
NASA is obviously taking the lead with the research and is even sending bacteria into the sky with balloons. Lots of other science organizations are also taking advantage of the event to do some science exploration. Here are some of the most interesting experiments that will take place as the sky grows dark across the country.
Aug 15, 2017
As the Moon blocks the Sun’s light completely next week in a total solar eclipse, more than 50 high-altitude balloons in over 20 locations across the US will soar up to 100,000 feet in the sky. On board will be Raspberry Pi cameras, weather sensors, and modems to stream live eclipse footage. They’ll also have metal tags coated with very hardy bacteria, because NASA wants to know whether they will survive on Mars.Read Article >
Every time we send a rover to the Red Planet, our own microorganisms latch on to them and hitch a ride across space. What happens to these bacteria once they’re on Mars? Do they mutate? Do they die? Or can they continue living undisturbed, colonizing worlds other than our own? To answer these questions we need to run experiments here on Earth, and the eclipse on August 21st provides the perfect opportunity.
Aug 14, 2017
On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will cross the United States from coast to coast for the first time in nearly a century. The event has been a boon to the tourism and hotel industries of towns like Nashville, Tennessee, and Charleston, South Carolina that are in the path of the Moon’s shadow. Whether you’re flying or driving to one of these towns, or just camping out in your backyard, here are the gadgets you will need to get a good look at the Moon and the Sun — while keeping your eyes and devices protected.Read Article >
Solar Filter Sunglasses
Aug 12, 2017
Amazon is refunding customer purchases for protective solar eclipse glasses that it hasn’t been able to confirm come from a reputable manufacturer, according to a safety notification from the company.Read Article >
Excitement has been building for the upcoming solar eclipse across the United States on August 21st, and would-be eclipse viewers have purchased protective glasses from retailers such as Amazon.com. However, not all of the glasses found on the site are safe to use, with some vendors selling counterfeit or unsafe versions.
Aug 11, 2017
David Baron has been chasing eclipses for almost 20 years. His first total solar eclipse — when the Moon fully blocks the Sun from sight, turning day into night — was in 1998, in Aruba. The experience convinced him to travel the world to catch more eclipses. “I really didn’t know what a big deal it would be,” says Baron, a science writer. “It was so moving, almost psychedelic. I just decided I wanted to experience it again.”Read Article >
Since 1998, Baron has traveled to Europe, Australia, and Indonesia to witness five total solar eclipses. And on August 21st of this year, he’ll climb nearly 11,000 feet to the top of Rendezvous Peak in the Teton Mountains in Wyoming, to witness the first total solar eclipse crossing the US from coast to coast since 1918. He’s not alone: eclipse chasers all over the world travel wherever they can to get a fleeting glimpse of the celestial phenomenon. This month’s eclipse is expected to draw millions of people.
Aug 10, 2017
I've never been a big fan of astronomical events: there are just too many meteor showers or planet transits to keep up with, and a slightly larger Moon just doesn't do much for me. But I have completely shed my cynical attitude regarding the upcoming total solar eclipse. The more I learn about it, the more excited I am to see it — and to photograph it. I'll be heading down to Nashville, which lies in the path of the eclipse's shadow, so I'll have the opportunity to get an incredible snapshot of the Sun completely covered by the Moon.Read Article >
I consider myself an amateur photographer, but I’ve never tried taking pictures of celestial events before, and I’ve never even witnessed an eclipse. So I turned to a self-proclaimed astrophotographer Justin Starr to give me some tips about how to best snap a picture of the Sun — before, during, and after totality. Watch his demonstration in the video above and check out a summary of his suggestions below.
Aug 8, 2017
If you want to see this month’s total solar eclipse, hopefully you’ve already made your travel plans because flight costs and hotel searches are skyrocketing right now. The special astronomical event is expected to draw millions to the US states located in what’s called the path of totality, where you'll be able to see the Moon completely cover the Sun for just a few minutes.Read Article >
Seven major cities are seeing a boom in flight bookings, according to Hipmunk, an online travel company. Bookings to Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; Omaha, Nebraska; Knoxville, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; and Columbia, South Carolina, are up 418 percent compared to the same August weekend in 2016.
Jul 26, 2017
On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will pass through the continental United States — traveling from the coasts of Oregon to South Carolina. It’s going to be an incredible sight, but the only way to watch it safely is to view the partially eclipsed Sun with special solar filter glasses that block out the majority of the Sun’s light. Only certain solar filter glasses sold online have been properly certified.Read Article >
A quick search of solar filter glasses on Amazon will pull up hundreds of companies selling products for safely viewing the eclipse. Many of the glasses are sponsored or recommended by Amazon, and claim to have been certified for safely viewing the Sun. However, some of the vendors being featured on Amazon’s website are allegedly selling counterfeit products, and it’s hard to tell which ones are legitimate.