The ‘Big One’ is coming in 2017: A total solar eclipse

Dean Regas –December 29, 2016

The largest planet in our solar system returns to the evening sky in the spring and is closest to the earth on April 7.  You’ll see it rising in the east after sunset and Jupiter will have close encounters with the moon on April 10, May 7 and June 3.

Meteor showers are notoriously fickle events so predicting them is not an exact science. However, I’m hoping that the Orionid meteor shower peaking on Oct. 21 and the Leonid meteor shower on Nov. 17 will be good ones. The moon will be out of the way for both so that the fainter meteors may shine.

The Big One

But the major astronomical event of 2017 – and I have been waiting decades for this – will be the total solar eclipse. On Aug. 21, the Moon will completely block the sun, and best of all, this can be witnessed in the United States, from sea to shining sea. We have not had a total solar eclipse in the mainland U.S. since 1979.

There is a catch: you have to be at the right place at the right time to see it. To experience totality (when the sun is totally blocked by the moon), you will have to be on a narrow path about 75 miles wide between Oregon and South Carolina. Or you could venture farther west to Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming or Idaho. You can view a detailed map of the eclipse here.