The first total solar eclipse of the 21st century is coming soon.
Assuming it is not cloudy on Monday, Aug. 21, everyone in the continental United States, in fact, everyone in North America -- plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe -- will see at least a partial solar eclipse. The thin path of totality will pass through portions of 14 states.
The sun will disappear behind the moon, turning daylight into twilight, and leading to a quick plunge in temperature before streamers of light streaking across the sky around the moon's silhouette.
It will mark the first time a total solar eclipse will be visible from the mainland United States since 1979.
How long ago was that? Well, consider this. Jimmy Carter was president and 63 Americans were taken as hostages in Iran shortly after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Tehran after nearly 15 years of exile.
"A total eclipse of the sun belongs on everyone's bucket list," said Hudson Valley resident and renowned astronomer and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson of North Salem.
The Aug. 21 eclipse will also be the first to sweep across the entire country since 1918.
Given all that, excitement is building. You can check out a website devoted just to the eclipse -- eclipse2017org -- by clicking here.
After Aug. 21, the next total solar eclipse is due for April 2024.
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