Something rare and awesome is about to happen in the U.S. Today (Aug. 21) there will be a total solar eclipse, and if you live in the path of totality, you will have the opportunity to have your day turned to night as the moon will totally block out the sun.

What follows are some things you should know about the event:

• The total solar eclipse is going to take place between 11:46 a.m. and 1"03 p.m. Central time.

• Along the “path of totality” – where the eclipse will be seen best – the total solar eclipse will last for about two-and-a-half minutes or less.

• The path of totality will darken the skies from Oregon to South Carolina. The total solar eclipse will cast a 70-mile wide shadow.

• Those outside the path of totality ( this area) will witness a partial solar eclipse — rest assured, it will still be cool to watch – weather permitting.

• The last total solar eclipse viewed from the contiguous U.S. was Feb. 26, 1979. The total solar eclipse of June 8, 1918, crossed a similar path, traveling from Washing-ton to Florida.

• Total solar eclipses occur approximately once every 18 months, but it depends where on Earth you are if you have a chance to see them.

• The next annular solar eclipse that can be seen in the U.S. will be Oct. 14, 2023, and will be visible from northern California to Florida.

• The next total solar eclipse will be visible April 8, 2024.

For most of America, if you use special precautions to safely look, the sun will appear shaped like a crescent, as the invisible moon slowly passes part way in front.

The sun is much too bright to look at directly without special precaution. Looking at the sun with unfiltered binoculars or a telescope would blind a person. Enjoy, but be safe.

Public domain photo courtesy of NASA