New York: Today, all of North America will witness a total solar eclipse for the first time in 99 years, where the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, casting darkness across swathes of the Earth’s surface — with up to 14 states shrouded in complete blackout.
Dubbed as the Great American Eclipse, the spectacular moment will see the Sun, the Moon and the Earth become perfectly aligned in a once-in-a-lifetime celestial spectacle seen from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.
According to a report published today in “The Telegraph”, everyone in North America, parts of South America, Africa and Europe — including the UK — will see at least a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun.
However, 14 states across the United States will experience a total solar eclipse with more than two minutes of darkness descending in the middle of the day over the course of 100 minutes.
More than 12 million Americans live inside the path of totality and more than half of the nation lives within 400 miles of it.
Millions more are expected to travel to cities along the path to witness the phenomenon.
What causes an eclipse? The diameter of the Sun is 400 times that of the Moon but it lies 400 times further away – which means if you are in exactly the right alignment on the surface of the Earth at the right time, you will see the two celestial bodies overlap exactly.
What areas will see total blackout? Anyone within the path of totality will see the sky become dark for several minutes as the moon completely covers the sun.
The path is relatively thin, around 70 miles wide, and stretches from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
It will first be seen at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 PDT, with totality beginning at 10:16 PDT.
Over the next 90 minutes, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and end near Charleston, South Carolina at 14:28 EDT.
The lunar shadow will leave the US at 04:09 EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.
Nasa will host an Eclipse Megacast for four hours during the eclipse which will be picked up by local, national and international TV stations.