More than a year out the Great American Eclipse, a total solar eclipse, is filling up hotel rooms across small town America. The first total solar eclipse to cross American skies this century will take place on Aug. 21, 2017. While Alaska and Hawaii witnessed total solar eclipses in 1990 and 1991 respectively, the Great American Eclipse will be the first since 1979 to cross over the lower 48 states; and the next one won’t come until April 2024.

A solar eclipse takes place when the moon comes between Earth and the sun, casting a shadow across the planet. While there are several types of solar eclipses, a total solar eclipse means for a brief period of time the moon — which is dramatically smaller than the sun, but also much closer to Earth — will completely cover the sun, as opposed to partial or annular solar eclipses which produce a “ring of fire” of exposed light around the moon. FULL REPORT