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Hey! There is a solar eclipse happening this summer! Of course, if you haven't heard by now, the rock you are living under will probably block your view anyway. If you have heard and you are wondering why all the fuss, a group of scientists from NASA took to Reddit to participate in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) about the eclipse and why everyone should care. We broke down the AMA and cut through to the important stuff.

When and Where Is This Total Eclipse Of The Sun Happening?

The eclipse is happening on August, 21st and will be able to be seen across a huge swatch of the United States. Check out the map below.

Why Is This Such A Big Deal?

For starters, this is the first time a total eclipse has been visible in North America since 1979, and compared to this time, the '79 eclipse was visible in a much more contained area, really only the Northwest. This eclipse is stretching coast to coast.

Where Is The Best Place To See It?

Well, you can see from the map where "totality" will occur, so really, anywhere on that line will be great, but for the absolute best view, head to Southern Illinois, near the town of Carbondale, where totality will last nearly 3 minutes. Interestingly, the next solar eclipse that will be visible in North America, in 2024, will also have a great view in Carbondale.

Is There A Big Difference Between "95%" totality and "100%"?

For sure, the scientists explain:

The difference between a 95% eclipse and a 100% eclipse is literally the difference between day and night. With any partial eclipse, you don't experience the "awesomeness" of totality. It's hard to put into words, but once you experience a total eclipse, you understand the difference. At 95%, you will barely notice anything going on - just some slight dimming of daylight. (Source)

So if you can, seek out a spot on the line where there will be 100%.

How Long Can I Stare At The Sun Without Going Blind?

DON'T STARE AT THE SUN! Yeah, it seems like common sense, but seriously, don't look directly at the eclipse without the proper protection. Check out NASA's recommendations to stay safe.

How Dark Will It Get?

Well, if you are in a spot with totality, it will be like dusk, or slightly darker.

Do Eclipses Affect Animals?

Yep, many animals will, in fact, be tricked into thinking it's nighttime. Cicadas will chirp, birds with nest, chickens will roost, etc. They will also be very confused when the sun returns just a couple minutes later. Apparently, it really upsets chickens.

We've Been Observing Eclipses For Thousands Of Years, What More Can We Learn?

NASA scientists are most excited about studying the sun's corona because it is impossible to see when the sun surface is blasting light out. When the moon blocks it, the corona is as visible as it could ever be to us here on Earth so it is the best (and really only) time we can study it.

What If I Miss This One? When Is There Another?

Well, as was said above, the next one on this scale in North America is in 7 years. After that, it'll be 2045, so don't miss this one!

And, if you plan on buying an exotic plant that day, don't say we didn't warn you:

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