You’ll be able to view the 2017 solar eclipse from anywhere in the US

solar eclipse solar prominence
A solar

BBC on

A swath of the U.S. 70 miles wide will have a chance
to see the moon completely block out the sun in August.

Here’s how to find out if you hit the
. But say you can’t make it to that band,
or say you do and it’s cloudy — is all hope lost?

Only that narrow totality band will get the ultimate solar
eclipse experience of seeing the moon block out all but the
outermost layer of the sun.

A lot of astronomy buffs are

downplaying the partial solar eclipse

in a bid to try to encourage people to go see the real

But not everyone can drop everything and travel hundreds of
miles on a Monday afternoon, so let’s stop writing off the rest
of the country.

Everywhere in the U.S. (even

Alaska and Hawaii

) will
experience a partial solar eclipse, when part of the moon will
block out part of the sun. This is more common than a total solar
eclipse, but it’s nothing to sniff at if this is your first

To have a sense of how dramatic the eclipse might be in
your location, check out this video. The red streak is that
totality band. People in the dark rings depicted around the moon
will see a partial solar eclipse — the darker the ring you’re in,
the more of the sun will be hidden.

A few clouds can’t rain on this parade

So you can predict how dramatic of an eclipse you’ll see,
but what if unpredictable


steps in?

If you’ve been looking online, you’ve probably read
throw-away lines about not being able to see the eclipse because
of clouds. Strictly speaking, that is true: If clouds block the
sun, you will not be able to watch the moon block the sun. If
it’s feasible to relocate someplace sunnier, it’s definitely
worth a try. But, again, we’re being pragmatic here.

But even if you’re stuck with clouds, you won’t see just
another afternoon. Within the path of totality, it will become
night-like — “

pitch black

” if it’s truly
overcast, according to an informational website run by 12-eclipse


. To get a sense of the stark difference,
check out the

before-and-after photos at the bottom of this

. The effect will be more dramatic the
closer you are to the path of totality.

(Note: Spotty clouds do not protect your eyes. You still

real filters

. Do not try to make
your own or use sunglasses. If you can see the sun, you need eye

If this still sounds logistically difficult,

in many places

this will be
happening at what one could conceivably call lunch time. So even
if you’ll be stuck in a windowless office on Aug. 21, maybe you
should by coincidence have some lunch plans.

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