A week from today, in a roughly seventy-mile-wide arc stretching from
Oregon to South Carolina, the sun will disappear from the sky. It will
be the first total solar eclipse to cross the United States in
ninety-nine years, and the first to be visible only in this country
since before it was a country. Millions of eclipse chasers will soon
set up camp—in Chilly, Idaho; and Hazard, Nebraska; and Sweetwater,
Tennessee—to await the moment that astronomers call totality. As they
gaze through telescopes and pinhole cameras and protective glasses, the moon
will come into alignment with the sun, obscuring everything but a
brilliant ring of light and
the speckled sweep of the Milky Way.
In this video, Bob Baer, the co-chair of Southern Illinois University’s
Solar Eclipse Steering Committee, describes what observers, both human
and animal, can expect to see and feel. As the date of totality
approaches, return to The New Yorker for further coverage—including a
five-hour live stream of the event itself, beginning at 11:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time on Monday, August 21st. While you wait, you can use the map below to explore the path of the eclipse.