A total solar eclipse (where the moon completely blocks the sun) is an amazing thing to see. And coming up soon, millions of Americans will have the chance. The “Great American Eclipse” will be visible in the following fourteen states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois (Giant City State Park gets the longest view), Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This total solar eclipse will begin in Oregon at 9:06 AM PDT on Monday, August 21, 2017 and end in South Carolina at 4:06 PM EDT.

Don’t live in or nearby one of those states? NASA has you covered with live streaming video of this special event at their https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive website.

Viewers need eye protection when looking at the sun for most of this event (except when the moon completely covers it). Whatever solar glasses you use, make sure it has a good solar filter with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, which reduces ultraviolet and infrared radiation exposure to your eyes.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has a recommended list at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters. Do not use solar glasses older than three years old or are worn out (scratches on lenses, etc.).

Thankfully several reputable organizations are taking the lead on providing solar glasses. The NASA Library Initiative and the Moore Foundation even have free solar glasses at almost 5000 U.S. libraries at http://spacescience.org/software/libraries/map.php while  Mystery Science and Google are giving 15,000 pairs of glasses to elementary schools. For more information visit https://eclipseamerica.org/. Astronomers Without Borders also is giving away solar glasses – https://astronomerswithoutborders.org/awb-programs/resource-sharing-programs/eclipse-glasses-giveaway.html.

If you want to get your own solar glasses, then order soon. Companies offering glasses for sale include Amazon, 123 Sales, 3Dstereo.com, Educational Innovations, Electronic Analyst, Firefly Buys (FFB), Fred Meyer, Freedom Hill, Mega-Fun Toys, Off the Wall Toys & Gifts, Run to Shop, Skyhawk Ventures, Soluna/GSM Sales, Squirrellynuts and Your 5 Star General Store. Buy your solar glasses in-person at the following stores: 7-Eleven, Bi-Mart, Casey’s General Store, Circle K, Hobby Town, Kirklands, Kroger, Love’s Travel Stops, Lowe’s, Menards, Pilot/Flying J, Toys “R” Us and Walmart.

The last total solar eclipse visible in American occurred on February 26, 1979 and the next total solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024 in 12 states. Below is the total solar eclipse path schedule for each U.S. state:

Oregon – 9:04 AM – 11:48 AM PDT

Idaho – 10:10 AM – 12:59 PM MDT

Wyoming – 10:16 AM – 1:14 PM MDT

Nebraska – 10:25 AM MDT – 2:32 PM CDT

Kansas – 11:39 AM – 2:34 PM CDT

Missouri – 11:40 AM – 2:46 PM CDT

Illinois – 11:51 AM – 2:49 PM CDT

Kentucky – 11:54 AM – 2:52 PM CDT

Tennessee – 11:57 AM – 3:59 PM CDT

North Carolina – 1:05 PM – 4:01 PM EDT

Georgia – 1:06 PM – 4:01 PM EDT

South Carolina – 1:07 PM – 4:10 PM EDT

~ Michael Siebenaler