Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature's most awe inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse.
This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
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Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse.
Although total solar eclipses are not rare, they generally take decades to return to the same region of the Earth.
It has been 38 years since the last total eclipse on the U.S. mainland. During the last total eclipse over North America on February 26, 1979, the line of totality passed through the northwestern part of the country and into Canada.
A video posted to YouTube has excerpts from ABC News special coverage of the eclipse in 1979.
Correspondent Frank Reynolds refers to the historical nature of the event saying, "A total eclipse of the sun, visible today over North America for the last time in this century."
Reynolds closed the report with this quote about the eclipse of August 21, 2017, "May the shadow of the moon fall in a world of peace."
The next total solar eclipse will travel north through Mexico and across the eastern United States in April 2024. The next eclipse to visit the West will happen in August 2045.