The Great American Eclipse of 2017

Different phases of solar and lunar eclipse

During this rare moment on Aug. 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will darken the skies from Oregon to South Carolina along a path roughly 70 miles wide, the "path of totality." Those who watch it — especially those in the totality zone — are in for an unforgettable experience. Of course, even those outside the zone are in for a treat. It will mark the first time since 1918 that the moon's shadow will race across the contiguous United States, giving millions of people a chance to witness the sun covered by the moon.

We've compiled this guide for you, including answers to all your questions, from what you need to know to keep your eyes safe to what to expect from animals (or your neighbors) during the event and much more.

And though Monday's total solar eclipse will be gone in a flash, it's worth noting that this marks the beginning of a new era of eclipses, with no fewer than six prime total eclipses to come, four of them occurring within a 35-year period.

So put those glasses on, look up and marvel at the spectacle.

(Photo above of the phases of an eclipse: Morgan Loomis/flickr)