When is the total solar eclipse?

The big day is Monday, Aug. 21. In the St. Louis area, the partial solar eclipse will begin late in the 11 a.m. hour and the total solar eclipse will happen shortly after 1 p.m. The partial eclipse will then end late in the 2 p.m. hour. Use our interactive map to see if you fall within the eclipse path.

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely blocks the solar disk. Only the sun’s corona, which looks like a ring of light around a hole in the sky, is visible. You have to be in the path of the eclipse in order to experience totality, and even that will be different lengths. South of Carbondale, Ill., Makanda, Ill., just outside Giant City State Park, will experience the longest duration in the nation, a little more than 2 minutes, 41 seconds. During totality, it will get as dark as night outside and stars will appear.

Can I look at the sun during the eclipse?

Only when the moon completely blocks the sun. When the sun is partially eclipsed, you can only look at it directly through special solar glasses, which usually cost about a dollar.

Where is the eclipse path?

The path is about 70 miles wide and it spreads from central Oregon through South Carolina. In Missouri, it crosses from St. Joseph to Perryville and through a chunk of Southern Illinois. The path crosses through St. Louis, but only parts to the south and west will experience totality. The areas not in the path will experience a partial solar eclipse.

Why is this a big deal?

This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental United States in 38 years, which is when one passed over the northwestern states. The last one in the St. Louis area was in 1442. The 2017 eclipse has been coined the “Great American Eclipse” because this time, totality crosses only through the United States and no other country. You may think you have seen an eclipse before, but it was probably a partial solar eclipse.

When is the next eclipse nearby?

Mark your calendars for April 8, 2024. Another total solar eclipse will pass through Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Where can I find out more?

Visit this map to see more detailed information about whether your house will be in the eclipse path and how long totality will last. See a simulation of what the eclipse will look like in your town. Check out the St. Louis Eclipse Task force website to find out about their efforts, plus links to many other resources.