Total Solar Eclipse to Dazzle Americans with Spectacular Show in 2017

First Posted: Aug 25, 2015 08:09 AM EDT

It turns out that America may be in for a total solar eclipse; it just happens to be two years from now. Researchers have announced that on Aug. 21, 2017, people in North America will witness one of nature's greatest sky shows.

The eclipse itself will pass directly over a huge swath of the country, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. It will actually reach its peak when it passes over the southeastern corner of Missouri and part of western Kentucky.

The eclipse will actually be the first in nearly four decades that's covered North America. In addition, this is the first time that the shadow track, known as the "path of totality," will sweep only over the United States and no other country.

Solar eclipses take place when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. This creates the shadow known as the umbra on our planet's surface. The track taken by the umbra can stretch for thousands of miles, however, it's also narrow and usually will get no bigger than about 167 miles wide.

Because this eclipse will only impact North America, people are already calling it "The Great American Eclipse." People in the United States will be set to witness the eclipse perfectly. It's estimated that the eclipse will be seen by an estimated 12 million people who live within the totality path.

NASA has already created a map of the eclipse's path. This shows the path of the total solar eclipse of 2017. Cities within the totality path include Idaho Falls, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; Grand Island, Nebraska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Columbia, Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; and Charleston, South Carolina.

Two years from now, you'd better watch out. You're likely to see one of the most spectacular shows in the sky.

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