On Monday 21 August, a total solar eclipse will be seen over parts of the US. Although the "path of totality" won't reach the UK, it doesn't mean budding astronomers on our shores won't be able to enjoy the rare natural phenomenon.
Mashable reports that NASA is teaming up with online video platform Stream to provide live images of the eclipse from an altitude of 100,000 feet. It will be the first eclipse to be filmed from this altitude, which is significant because it's high enough to avoid interference from cloud coverage. The broadcast is also tipped be the space agency's most-watched livestream on record since the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover in 2012.
As for the secret to capturing the best views of the event, Stream's CMO, Will Jamieson, says it's all down to balloons. In fact, 57 teams will launch balloons with video equipment attached at dozens of sites across the eclipse path so that stargazers outside the US can catch a glimpse of the extraordinary moment when the moon fully blocks the Sun.
According to Space.com, this will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental US in nearly 40 years. It will darken the skies from Oregon to South Carolina, with the path covering Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina in between.
In the UK, a partial eclipse, when the moon only covers a small portion of the Sun, will be visible during the evening of 21 August but sadly, there's a while to wait before we get the chance to watch a more spectacular celestial show over the British Isles.
The next significant solar eclipse that will be visible in the UK on 12 August, 2026, when up to 95 per cent of the Sun will be obscured.