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Countdown to the Total Solar Eclipse 2017: What You Need to Know

It’s definitely something to see. A total solar eclipse is coming to the U.S. on August 21, 2017. While partial eclipses happen often, total eclipses generally do not. With the next total eclipse not scheduled in the U.S. until 2024, now is a good time to make plans to witness this one.

The 2017 solar eclipse, also known as the Great American Solar Eclipse, will be here on August 21. The “path of totality” is that band of geography through which the eclipse travels and has 100% sun blockage. It makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina in the space of about two-and-a-half hours that day. And, many people have access to travel that will allow them to get in the path of totality. That could make this year great to witness the event.

Lots of people have seen a partial solar eclipse and maybe that is not too exciting. But, total solar eclipses are monumental, life changing, even lyric-inspiring. (Think “You’re So Vain” from Carly Simon and her antagonist going to “Nova Scotia, to the to see the total eclipse of the Sun”.) Which is why you may want to make the effort to see it this year. Here are some other reasons why witnessing this year’s total solar eclipse might be worth the time and energy.

FILE – These undated file images provided by the U.S. Postal Service shows the Total Solar Eclipse Forever stamp. [Image by U.S Postal Service/AP Images]

Path of Totality Only in the U.S.

It’s not very often that the path of totality for a solar eclipse runs through just one country. This one is different. It runs only through the U.S. and that is a “first ever” occurrence.

The Totality is the Amazing Part

Partial solar eclipses are kind of cool, but most people find them a bit ho-hum. But, total solar eclipses are completely different. Until you actually witness one, then you don’t really understand what all the excitement is about. It’s the totality that is so amazing. According to, a total solar eclipse is “one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights”.

Baily’s Beads and “Diamond Ring Effect” are Important Terms

Some terms are only in common usage surrounding a big event. So it is with “Baily’s Beads” and “diamond ring effect”. Baily’s Beads, according the Eclipse Glossary, is “the effect seen just before and just after totality when only a few points of sunlight are visible through valleys around the edge of the moon.” And, diamond-ring effect is “the effect seen in the few seconds just before and after totality of a total solar eclipse when there is a single point of sunlight brilliantly shining through a valley on the limb of the moon.” Right before totality, Baily’s Beads lead to the diamond-ring effect and then right after totality, the diamond-ring effect leads to Baily’s Beads.

A poster advertising the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse hangs in the window of a McDonald’s restaurant in Madras, Oregon on June 12, 2017. The first place to experience total darkness as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth will be in Oregon and Madras, in the central part of the state. [Image by Gillian Flaccus/AP Images]

The Event Could Be a Great Time to Make Some Extra Money

Many entrepreneurial and profit-minded people are ready to make money from this event. You need only do a quick Google search of products related to the Great American Solar Eclipse to be inundated with possible purchases. And, those locations in the path of totality are really trying to take advantage of the opportunity. From “eclipse glasses” used to view the event to commemorative t-shirts to lodging, the possibilities are endless. So, see the eclipse and make some money in the process. What could be better?

It’s less than a month-and-a-half until the big event: The Great American Solar Eclipse! It’s happening on August 21, so be sure to make plans to be in its “path of totality” and experience this most amazing of nature’s events. And, if you’re feeling entrepreneurial, maybe you can even make a buck or two!