A total solar eclipse will block out the sun across the U.S. on Aug. 21 in a major event that’s been dubbed the “Great American Eclipse” — but it won’t be the first or last time the country will see the astronomical phenomenon. To witness the next total solar eclipse in the U.S., though, Americans will have to wait another seven years.
The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse is unique in that it will be visible all across the U.S., with the moon appearing to completely blot out the sun in parts of 14 different states at different times throughout the day. That includes parts of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The eclipse will start in Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT and end in Charleston, S.C. at 4:09 p.m. EDT. For those in the path of the total solar eclipse, it will last two minutes and 40 seconds at most.
After Aug. 21 passes, the next total solar eclipse visible from Earth will pass through parts of South America and the South Pacific July 2, 2019, when the lunar disk will cover the sun for up to 4 minutes and 33 seconds.
But the U.S. will have to wait another seven years for the next total solar eclipse to fall within its borders. According to NASA, on April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will stretch diagonally across the U.S. from Texas through the Northeast U.S. Here’s a map showing the path of the 2024 total solar eclipse:
The total eclipse’s path will notably hit Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., which is also going to see a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The university is touting itself as the “Eclipse Crossroads of America” and has many events planned for the upcoming eclipse.
Before Aug. 21, the last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the contiguous U.S. was in 1979. At the time, only the Northwest U.S. was able to witness the sight, according to NASA.