/ Modified feb 23, 2017 2:52 p.m.

Total Solar Eclipse in 6 Months Has Astronomers Preparing

Phenomenon can be seen in 70-mile swath from regon to South Carolina; partly visible in Arizona.

Total solar eclipse hero NASA camera captured this total solar eclipse. (PHOTO: NASA)

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Six months from Tuesday. a total solar eclipse will cross the nation from coast to coast. The last time that happened was nearly a century ago.

The “Great American Eclipse" is what excited astronomers from Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory are calling it. They plan a public celebration in Madras, Ore., for viewing come Aug. 21.

“A total solar eclipse is life-changing,” said Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory’s public information officer and historian. “We’re going to have a whole football field of activities, from telescopes to students setting up science experiments, and some of those students are coming from right here in Flagstaff.”

Solar eclipse path VIEW LARGER The moon’s shadow will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a 70-mile-wide strip. (PHOTO: Courtesy of NASA)

The moon’s shadow will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a 70-mile-wide strip. This region is called the “path of totality.”

It’s the only place to see the moon completely block the sun for a few minutes.

Arizona is not in the path of totality. But a partial solar eclipse will be visible. Local celebrations are already planned in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and Sierra Vista.

Arizona Science Desk
This story is from the Arizona Science Desk, a collaborative of the state's public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Arizona Science Desk.
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