Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina today.
Katie Park, Leanne Abraham and Alyson Hurt / NPR

It is indeed dark during the day as a total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina.

Eleven states are in the path of total darkness. Follow the astronomical phenomenon's journey across America along with NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse.

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An image of the total Solar eclipse 1999 in France
Luc Viatour

On Monday, Aug. 21 millions of Americans will experience a cosmic event of a lifetime: a total solar eclipse. This is the first time in 99 years that people from coast to coast can witness the moon completely covering the sun.

On Monday, the moon will completely eclipse the sun, and people all over the U.S. will watch.

For those who have been boning up on eclipse trivia for weeks, congratulations. For everyone else, here are the things you need to know about the phenomenon.

Partial solar eclipse
T. Ruen / NASA Goddard via Twitter

Small towns in western North Carolina are preparing for an influx of thousands of tourists for next week's eclipse. 

Communities like Franklin, Sylva and Cashiers could get a record number of visitors when the eclipse happens next Monday.  Highlands, N.C. mayor Patrick Taylor's town is in the path of the total eclipse. He said authorities are expecting nearby Highway 441 to be jammed all day.

eclipse glasses
S. N. Johnson-Roehr (JR) / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/cbWaoA

Many people are excited to catch a glimpse of the upcoming solar eclipse. But the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons is urging the use of proper eye protection. Sunglasses simply aren't dark enough to protect your retinas against the sun's UV rays.

Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
Greg Duckworth II / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/528zQV

Hikers trekking deep in the Pisgah National Forest are usually on the lookout for copperheads and black bears. But sometimes they are startled by a Big Bang of sorts, stumbling out of the woods and into a science fiction-like world of giant telescopes. But it's no illusion.

There Goes The Sun

Jun 15, 2017
This image shows how the Sun would look at the extreme ultraviolet wavelength end of the spectrum.
Solar Dynamic Observatory, NASA / NASA

This August communities across the United States will witness a total solar eclipse for the first time almost 100 years. This event is both a visual spectacle for sky watchers and a significant scientific event.