On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible from the contiguous United States. It’ll be the first to traverse coast to coast in nearly a century. There will be 69 total solar eclipses visible from somewhere on the planet in the next 100 years, but only a few will be visible from North America. See how many total solar eclipses are left in your lifetime:

I was born in the year

Sooner

Later

2017 eclipse

Drag the globe to explore the eclipse paths.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon aligns between the Earth and the sun. The shadow directly under the moon, called the umbra, is a total eclipse. The moon will also have a penumbra, which is a lighter shadow around the umbra. This is viewed as a partial eclipse. The path of the moon’s umbra as it moves across Earth is called the path of totality.

[Graphic: Travel the path of the solar eclipse]

Earth

Partial eclipse

Total eclipse

Sun

Penumbra

(partial shadow)

Note: Not to scale

Sun

Penumbra

(partial shadow)

Total eclipse

Partial

eclipse

Earth

Note: Not to scale

Partial eclipse

Earth

Total eclipse

Sun

Penumbra

(partial shadow)

Note: Not to scale

On average, a total solar eclipse can be visible from somewhere on Earth every 1.5 years.

While all of North America will be able to see the eclipse on Aug. 21, most of the continent will only see a partial eclipse, which may or may not be noticeable depending on where you are. A total eclipse will only be visible along the path of totality, which is about 60 to 70 miles wide at any given point. The farther you are from this path, the less noticeable the eclipse will be.

What the total solar eclipse in August

will look like throughout the U.S.

What the total solar eclipse in August will look like throughout the U.S.

What the total solar eclipse in August will look like throughout the U.S.

The path of totality for the eclipse in August stretches from coast to coast — passing over Oregon in the west and moving all the way across the country to South Carolina in the east. This is a rare event; it’s the first time the path of totality will eclipse only over the contiguous United States.

[Everything you need to know about the Aug. 21 eclipse]

The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the Lower 48 was 1979. The next time a total solar eclipse will traverse from coast to coast will be in 2045.

Total solar eclipse paths over the

contiguous U.S.

Past 100 years

Next 100 years

2017

10 eclipses

8 eclipses

Total solar eclipse paths over the contiguous U.S.

Past 100 years

Next 100 years

2017

10 eclipses

8 eclipses

Portland

Minneapolis

New York

Chicago

Denver

Los Angeles

Atlanta

Charleston

Dallas

Miami

Total solar eclipse paths over the contiguous U.S.

Past 100 years

Next 100 years

2017

10 eclipses

8 eclipses

Portland

Minneapolis

New York

Chicago

Los Angeles

Atlanta

Charleston

Dallas

Miami

August’s eclipse will be the third time an area near Boise will be eclipsed in the past century, the most eclipsed of any area in America from 1917 to 2017.

WA

ID

Boise

OR

NV

Carbondale, Ill., is directly under the path of totality for both the August eclipse and the next total solar eclipse in America in 2024.

IN

IL

KY

MO

Carbondale

TN

AR

By 2117, Tallahassee will have seen four total solar eclipses, the most eclipsed of any area in America from 1917 to 2117.

SC

AL

GA

Tallahassee

FL

SC

IN

WA

MT

AL

IL

GA

ID

KY

MO

Carbondale

Tallahassee

Boise

OR

TN

AR

FL

NV

August’s eclipse will be the third time an area near Boise will be eclipsed in the past century, the most eclipsed of any area in America from 1917 to 2017.

Carbondale, Ill., is directly under the path of totality for both the August eclipse and the next total solar eclipse in America in 2024.

By 2117, Tallahassee will have seen four total solar eclipses, the most eclipsed of any area in America from 1917 to 2117.

SC

IN

WA

MT

AL

IL

GA

ID

KY

MO

Carbondale

Tallahassee

Boise

OR

TN

AR

FL

NV

August’s eclipse will be the third time an area near Boise will be eclipsed in the past century, the most eclipsed of any area in America from 1917 to 2017.

Carbondale, Ill., is directly under the path of totality for both the August eclipse and the next total solar eclipse in America in 2024.

By 2117, Tallahassee will have seen four total solar eclipses, the most eclipsed of any area in America from 1917 to 2117.

In the last 100 years, some areas have been in the paths of multiple eclipses: New England, for example, saw five. (During its World Series dry spell from 1918 to 2004, the greater Boston area alone saw two.)

Others weren’t so lucky. Just 200 miles away in New York, construction on the Empire State Building had not started yet the last time the city saw a total solar eclipse (1925). San Diego had a population of less than 100,000 the last time it was eclipsed (1923), and Chicago hasn’t seen a total eclipse at all in the last 100 years. An area near Tucson has the longest dry spell in the Lower 48: The last total solar eclipse it saw was in the year 797.

The last total solar eclipse over these areas occurred more than a millennium ago.

Cincinnati

Tucson

The last eclipse over these areas occurred before Columbus’s arrival in 1492.

Chicago

San Francisco

Columbus

D.C.

Houston

San Antonio

The last eclipse over these areas occurred before America’s independence in 1776.

Chicago

San Francisco

D.C.

Los Angeles

El Paso

Tampa

Houston

The last total solar eclipse over these areas occurred more than a millennium ago.

Cincinnati

Tucson

The last eclipse over these areas occurred before Columbus’s arrival in 1492.

Chicago

San Francisco

Columbus

D.C.

San Antonio

Houston

The last eclipse over these areas occurred before America’s independence in 1776.

Chicago

San Francisco

D.C.

Los Angeles

El Paso

Tampa

Houston

The last total solar eclipse over these areas occurred more than a millennium ago.

The last eclipse over these areas occurred before Columbus’s arrival in 1492.

The last eclipse over these areas occurred before America’s independence in 1776.

Chicago

Chicago

San Francisco

San Francisco

Columbus

D.C.

D.C.

Cincinnati

Los Angeles

Tucson

El Paso

Tampa

San Antonio

Houston

Houston

The U.S. mainland has averaged about seven total solar eclipses per century since 2000 B.C. Some areas have seen as many as 25 eclipses, while others, such as spots west of Minneapolis, have seen only four in the last four millennia.

Total solar eclipse paths over the

contiguous U.S. since 2000 B.C.

Most eclipsed areas: 25 or more eclipses

Least eclipsed areas: Five or fewer eclipses

Total solar eclipse paths over the contiguous U.S. since 2000 B.C.

Most eclipsed areas: 25 or more eclipses

Least eclipsed areas: Five or fewer eclipses

Seattle

Minneapolis

Boston

Chicago

New York

San Francisco

Denver

D.C.

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Atlanta

Dallas

Tampa

Houston

Miami

Total solar eclipse paths over the contiguous U.S. since 2000 B.C.

Most eclipsed areas: 25 or more eclipses

Least eclipsed areas: Five or fewer eclipses

Seattle

Minneapolis

Boston

Detroit

New York

Chicago

San Francisco

Denver

D.C.

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Atlanta

Dallas

Houston

Tampa

Miami

Patterns in how eclipses traverse the country mean that some areas, such as the Midwest, get to see many more than others.

10 paths of totality

Minneapolis

Chicago

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Dallas

13 paths

Seattle

Chicago

D.C.

St. Louis

Atlanta

8 paths

San Francisco

Denver

Los Angeles

10 paths of totality

Minneapolis

Chicago

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Dallas

13 paths

Seattle

Chicago

D.C.

St. Louis

Atlanta

8 paths

San Francisco

Denver

Los Angeles

8 paths

10 paths of totality

13 paths

Seattle

Minneapolis

Chicago

Chicago

San Francisco

D.C.

Denver

St. Louis

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Atlanta

Dallas

Even though you don’t have to wait long for the next total solar eclipse in the contiguous United States in 2024, it won’t be as expansive as the one coming up in August. But if you’re waiting for an eclipse to happen over your head, don’t hold your breath — you might be waiting for a couple of centuries.

Armand Emamdjomeh contributed to this graphic.

Corrections: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Aug. 21 eclipse is the first time the path of totality will eclipse only over the contiguous U.S. since 1918. It is in fact the first time this has occurred since the U.S. declared independence in 1776. A previous version of this story also incorrectly stated that New England saw four eclipses in the last 100 years. It has seen five because the 1970 eclipse went over some islands.

About this story

Eclipse path data from the Five Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses Database by Xavier M. Jubier via NASA eclipse predictions data by Fred Espenak. Polygons of paths are calculated estimates and may not be exact. This dataset does not include one total solar eclipse that occurred in 839 B.C. because it did not have a central path or limits of totality. San Diego population from U.S. Census.

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