Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right The Great American Eclipse will happen in exactly one year
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The Great American Eclipse will happen in exactly one year

Solar eclipse
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/David Paleino Solar eclipse

In one year exactly—on August 21, 2017—the United States will fall under the shadow of the moon during the Great American Eclipse.

According to USA Today, the rare event, which happens when the moon falls right between the sun and the Earth, will be "the first total eclipse visible only in the USA since the country was founded in 1776."

NASA also declares it to be "the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire country in 99 years."

What can you do to prepare for the event, which really only lasts about two minutes? Plan to be in the right place at the right time.

According to the Great American Eclipse website, ten spots around the country will boast the best views: Madras, Oregon; Snake River Valley, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; the Sandhills of Western Nebraska; St. Joseph, Missouri; Carbondale, Illinois; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Columbia, South Carolina. Check out the site's map right here or refer to NASA's own map.

Folks in North America, parts of South America, Western Europe and Africa will be able to witness a partial eclipse.

Depending on where you'll be, you'll be able to admire the natural event at a different local time (if you're in Nashville, you might want to bookmark this countdown clock).

Planning on traveling to an ideal viewing spot? We suggest you book your hotel room immediately as cities have already announced their plans for celebrations. The SolarFest in Oregon will span four days and Nashville, the largest city in the eclipse's path, will host special programs and activities during its Music City Solar Eclipse celebration.

If you happen to miss next year's affair, you'll have to wait until April 2024 to witness the next eclipse (which will only run from Texas through Maine) or sit down tight until August 2045, when yet another eclipse will run from California through Florida. So, to be safe, you might actually want to cancel whatever plans you have for August of 2017.