Photograph by Rob Stothard, Getty Images
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Students in London prepare to watch a solar eclipse. Twelve million people in the United States will be in or near the path of an eclipse in 2017.

Photograph by Rob Stothard, Getty Images

How to See the Upcoming 'Great American Eclipse'

In August 2017, you can experience the first total eclipse to cross the continental U.S. since 1979. But, you better reserve a seat now.

A year from now, day will turn into night across the United States.

On August 21, 2017, for the first time since 1979, the shadow of a total solar eclipse will sweep from sea to shining sea, following a 8,600-mile path that takes it from Oregon to South Carolina.

An estimated 12 million people live along the narrow band where the moon will appear to completely block the sun—otherwise known as totality—for approximately two minutes. But more than 200 million Americans will be within a day’s drive if they want to see it themselves. So best to make your travel plans now if you want to get the best viewing spots. The area of greatest duration—lasting two minutes, 41.7 seconds—is near Carbondale, Illinois.

And please take careful note of these tips on how to stare safely at a solar eclipse.

If you miss this celestial event, be patient. There will be another total solar eclipse in the United States, sweeping from California to Florida, on August 12, 2045.