The Greatest Solar Eclipse in a Century is Coming to the US in August

eclipse 2017, aerial view of solar eclipse, solar eclipse above the clouds
Whether or not you fancy yourself an astronomy nerd, a truly incredible event will sweep the United States this August. Americans will witness the greatest solar eclipse of the last hundred years. Here’s why it’s so special, how you can safely view it, and a few of the best places to see it for yourself.

What Is It?

On average, solar eclipses happen a handful of times every year. But, total solar eclipses — when the moon completely blocks out the sun — occur only every 18 months or so. The so-called “Great American Total Solar Eclipse” (the folks at NASA evidently prefer to spend time on more important things like searching for aliens than on hip marketing buzzwords) will cross the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017. For just a few minutes on that date, the sun will pass behind the moon, creating a beautiful “twilight” effect with large streaks of light dancing in silhouette around the moon. It will be the first total solar eclipse in the history of the country to pass solely over the continental U.S.

How Long Will the Eclipse Last?

The eclipse’s timing depends on where you are in relation to the “path of totality.” For anyone at the center of the path, the best case scenario is that it will last a scant 2 minutes and 40 seconds. For those standing near the edges of the path, it may only be observable for a few seconds.

What Do I Need to View the Eclipse?

Solar viewing glasses are available from a handful of manufacturers, including American Paper Optics (Bill Nye approved!), Rainbow Symphony, and Thousand Oaks Optical. These purpose-built specs allow the viewer to stare directly at the sun right before and after the event without going blind.

Where Can I See the Solar Eclipse?

Only those within the path of totality will see the full eclipse. The 70-mile-wide path connects South Carolina to Oregon, including North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho. Check out NASA’s interactive eclipse map which reveals the best locations for viewing the phenomenon.

Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park is hands-down the best place in the country to witness the once-in-a-lifetime event. The park’s remote location provides plenty of solitude from throngs of tourists. The destination is also located dead center in the path of totality. A few tour providers and rural lodges near Jackson Hole are celebrating with eclipse-inspired promotions, including:

  • Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools announced single-day packages starting at $2,100 USD (for a group of 7; accommodations not included). All-inclusive multi-day packages — including rafting trips, hiking expeditions, and a visit to the National Museum of Wildlife Art — are available starting around $3,000.
  • Moose Head Ranch is the last privately owned guest lodge within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park. In addition to its prime location, guests can enjoy wildlife expeditions on horseback, sprawling meadows of alpine wildflowers, and, with little light pollution, some of the best stargazing in the country. The property is hosting a special eclipse event with a lecture by astronomer Dr. Bill Blair.
  • Heart Six Dude Ranch is just steps from GTNP. As a working dude ranch, it offers guests hands-on rancher activities, horseback riding, floating the Snake River, and daily tours into Yellowstone National Park.

A Comprehensive Guide to Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Train Stops

By far the busiest — and the most profitable — of Amtrak’s national trains, the stations along Northeast Regional offer more than just a break from your commute.
Fashion & Style

Winter Running Gear: Equipment to Help You Brave the Cold

An effective collection of winter running gear is a great way to increase your motivation and make running in the cold an easier feat.

How to Build a Fire Pit with Your Own Two Hands

It's time to rekindle that fire — the drive to take an idea, make a plan, and build something. Here's how to build a fire pit.
Food & Drink

Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson on Harlem, the Kitchen, and Kevin Love

The famed co-creator of Red Rooster dishes on being involved in a new Banana Republic campaign with the NBA star.

Kosovo’s New Via Ferrata Berim Is Among Europe’s Most Death-Defying Climbs

If you like unnecessarily dangerous hikes, North Kosovo awaits.

Iceland’s Upscale Hostel KEX to Bring Michelin-Star Swagger to Portland, Oregon

This ain't the loud, sketchy, soulless hostel of your European backpacking days.

An Introductory Guide to Train Travel in the United States

With a little bit of forethought and preparation, you can turn Amtrak into Glamtrak.

The Best Places to Travel in January 2019

Thinner crowds, cheap airfare, and beautiful weather make these destinations some of the best places to travel in January.

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet? So get inspired.

7 Most Over-the-Top New Year’s Eve Experiences to Ring in 2019

Champagne? Check. Music? Check. Over-the-top festivities? Check.

10 Fiction Podcasts You Should Totally Get Sucked Into

Sit back, relax, and prepare for intrigue and adventure with the best serialized fiction podcasts.

Noken Delivers Custom, Hyper-Personalized Travel Guides Specific to You

Forget printed guidebooks and guided tours. Noken promises a whole new way to travel.

The 5 Most Scenic Amtrak Train Routes for Unparalleled Views of the United States

One of the great advantages of American rail travel — what makes the length and expense worth it — is the opportunity to see the breathtaking beauty of the land as you pass through it.
Fashion & Style

Travel Without the Tangle With These Tech Accessory Travel Organizers

With one of a travel organizer, you'll never have to unknot a bundle of charging cords again.