Are You Ready for the Great American Eclipse?

This August 21, the U.S. will experience a remarkable astronomical phenomenon for the first time since 1918: a total solar eclipse. Dubbed the Great American Eclipse, it will travel coast to coast across the contiguous U.S. in less than two hours, allowing millions to see the moment when the moon completely obscures the sun. And for those not in the total eclipse path (from Oregon to South Carolina), a partial solar eclipse will be visible.

We’ve put together a Skywatching Collection with our best guides and gear for exploring the universe and viewing the eclipse safely, no matter where you are.


Sun Catcher Telescope

Watch the eclipse like a pro with our new 70mm Sun Catcher Telescope. Designed for both novices and experts, it lets the whole family safely view any type of solar eclipse (total, partial, annular, or hybrid). Two eyepieces produce high-def, high-contrast images, and there’s a 45-percent erecting prism for correct image viewing. It’s also light enough to carry with you to remote viewing locations in faraway corners of the world—or your own backyard.

Pocket Guide to the Night Sky of North America 

What’s up there, anyway? Get acquainted with the skies above us with this guide to the solar system. It includes sky and constellation charts, as well as info about distant galaxies, meteor showers, moon phases, and everything else out (or is it up?) there.

Space Encyclopedia

Catch up on your space smarts with the Space Encyclopedia, the ultimate reference book for the whole family. It’s perfect for getting ready for the eclipse, doing school projects, and impressing friends with your astronomical knowledge.

Live From Space DVD

Who says you need to be an astronaut to go to outer space? This DVD brings you on a tour of the International Space Station, where you can see experiments carried out in a floating lab and catch incredible, out-of-this-world views of Earth.

View From Above

Coming in October, View From Above: An Astronaut Photographs the World is a spectacular collection of Commander Terry Virts’ stories and photos from his time in space. See what Time said about this “dazzling” book.


Here are some more tips and trivia to get you excited for the big day. Happy skywatching!

Great American Eclipse Stats

  • The total solar eclipse will begin near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 10:15 a.m. PT.
  • It will end at 2:48 p.m. ET near Charleston, South Carolina.
  • The duration of the total eclipse will vary depending on location; it will be roughly two minutes.

Viewing Tips

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast. You’ll want to be somewhere without a lot of cloud cover.
  • Check your camera equipment before the big day.
  • Do not look directly at the sun (it is only safe during the very brief period of totality). Instead, use safe gear like a telescope.

Did You Know?

  • Solar eclipse occur when the moon comes between the Earth and the sun.
  • Total solar eclipses happen somewhere on Earth every 12 to 18 months.
  • The period when the sun is completely covered by the moon is called the totality.
  • During a total solar eclipse, the corona of the sun is visible as a halo around the dark figure of the moon.