A solar eclipse darkens some region of Earth roughly every six months. Excitement is high for the August 21 total eclipse, which will cast a band of complete blackness across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. If you live too far away to see it, don’t despair—another eclipse may be coming your way soon (see map). It may be one of several varieties, in which the moon blocks part or all of the sun (see diagrams). Whatever the flavor, the event provides a dramatic show worth experiencing. —Mark Fischetti

Credit: Jen Christiansen

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Credit: Jan Willem Tulp; Source: Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA GSFC Emeritus