Solar eclipse 2017: When, where, and how to watch the eclipse

Solar eclipse
This is the first time first time in 99 years that a solar eclipse has crossed the country from coast-to-coast. Getty Images

Thousands of people are about to be treated to the show of the century — all they have to do is look up.

On August 21, 2017, people in several parts of the US will have the chance to view the total solar eclipse, a phenomenon that occurs when the moon crosses between the Earth and the sun and temporarily block the sun.

This is the first time first time in 99 years that a solar eclipse has crossed the country from coast to coast.

How to watch it

Most Americans will be able to catch a glimpse of the event — weather permitting — but those lucky enough to be in its 2,800-mile-long, 70-mile-wide path (also known as the path of totality) will see the moon completely choke out the sun‘s golden glare.


If you plan to watch the event outdoors, please do so safely.

We recommend a pinhole viewer, especially if you don’t have free eclipse glasses with special solar filters designed to protect your eyes from the powerful solar rays.


If you don’t live in one of the 14 states lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the eclipse live, don’t worry: there are plenty of online resources to choose from to sneak a peek.

Our recommendation: Rely on NASA (whose live feeds we’ve embedded below from providers including YouTube, Ustream, and Facebook Live). They will have two live feeds of the solar eclipse via NASA TV and NASA EDGE, and they will be streamed across half a dozen popular streaming-video services.

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Facebook Live

When to watch it

NASA’s first feed goes live at 8:45 a.m. PDT/11:45 a.m. EDT, about an hour before the moon’s darkest shadow kisses Oregon.

From there the shadow will move southeast quickly at speeds approaching 1,440 mph to 2,370 mph. After 93 minutes, the event will finish up in South Carolina. This map shows where and when the eclipse will cast its shadow across the US:

United states us total solar eclipse map august 21 2017 nasa gsfc svs
A US map of the total solar eclipse’s shadow on August 21, 2017. NASA’s Scientific Visualisation Studio