On Monday, Aug. 21, the Great American Eclipse will give those in the United States a rare sight — the moon will slip in front of the sun, blocking the rays from hitting Earth and resulting in a gorgeous solar eclipse for those in the path of totality, from Oregon to South Carolina, and a partial one for those outside that path. The U.S. won’t be privy to such a view until April 8, 2024, when those in North American will be able to see the total solar eclipse.
To help you prepare for a fun and safe eclipse-viewing, Live Science has compiled everything you need to know, from where to watch, how to watch and the science behind the event.
What is a solar eclipse?
About every 18 months, the moon, sun and Earth are perfectly aligned and the moon casts a shadow over Earth. Just a small portion of our planet falls within the center of that shadow (the path of totality), while other spots see a partial solar eclipse. Every two to five years, on average, Earthlings are treated to a partial solar eclipse in which the moon, sun and Earth aren’t exactly lined up. Though spectacular, solar eclipses are pure coincidences, astronomers say.
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