Totality - The Great American Eclipses of 2017 and 2024

By Mark Littmann and Fred Espenak


  • Complete, easy-to-understand guide for the lay public to total eclipses of the Sun, especially the great American eclipses of 2017 and 2024
  • The greatest eclipse photography ever assembled
  • Step-by-step suggestions for observing and photographing total eclipses of the Sun enjoyably and safely, including a chapter on photographing and video-recording a total eclipse
  • Exceptionally detailed maps of the paths of the total eclipses of 2017 and 2024, with maps of all eclipses from 2017 to 2045
  • Stories from ancient and modern times about the experience of totality
  • Many diagrams, photos, and illustrations showing how to observe a total eclipse of the Sun
  • Chapter interludes give dramatic, touching and sometimes funny, eclipse experiences from people who travel to see eclipses
  • Includes chapter on how to obtain and use weather information to pick the best observing site


Totality - The Great American Eclipses of 2017 and 2024 is a complete guide to the most stunning of celestial sights, total eclipses of the Sun. It focuses on the eclipses of August 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024 that pass across the United States. The U.S. mainland has not experienced a total solar eclipse since 1979. This book provides information, photographs, and illustrations to help the public understand and safely enjoy all aspects of these eclipses including:

  • How to observe a total eclipse of the Sun
  • How to photograph and video record an eclipse
  • Why solar eclipses happen
  • The earliest attempts to understand and predict eclipses
  • The mythology and folklore of eclipses
  • The response of animals to total solar eclipses
  • The response of man to total eclipses through time
  • How scientists used total eclipses to understand how the Sun works
  • How astronomers used a total solar eclipse in 1919 to confirm Einstein's general theory of relativity
  • Weather prospects for the 2017 eclipse
  • Detailed maps of the path of totality for the 2017 eclipse and the eclipses of 2018 through 2024
  • Precise local times for the eclipses of 2017 and 2024 (the next total solar eclipse to visit the U.S.)
  • Color and black-and-white photographs, diagrams, and charts to illustrate and explain total solar eclipses
  • Global maps of total solar eclipses from 2017 to 2045 and lists of total and annual solar eclipses from 1970 through 2070

Table of Contents

  • 1: The Experience of Totality
  • 2: The Great Celestial Cover-Up
  • 3: Ancient Efforts to Understand
  • 4: Eclipses in Mythology
  • 5: The Strange Behavior of Man and Beast - Long Ago
  • 6: The Sun at Work
  • 7: The First Eclipse Chasers
  • 8: The Eclipse that Made Einstein Famous
  • 9: Observing a Total Eclipse
  • 10: Eye Safety During Solar Eclipses
  • 11: The Strange Behavior of Man and Beast - Modern Times
  • 12: Eclipse Photography
  • 13: The All-American Eclipse of 2017
  • 14: The Weather Outlook
  • 15: When Is the Next One? Total Eclipses: 2018-2023
  • 16: Coming Back to America: The Eclipse of 2024
  • 17: Epilogue
  • Appendix A: Maps for Every Solar Eclipse 2017-2045
  • Appendix B: Total, Annular, and Hybrid Eclipses: 2017-2060
  • Appendix C: Recent Total, Annular, and Hybrid Eclipses: 1970-2016
  • Appendix D: Total Eclipses in the United States: 1492 to 2100

About the Authors

Mark Littmann, Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Fred Espenak, Astrophysicist emeritus, NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center.

Mark Littmann has written several popular books about astronomy. Planets Beyond: Discovering the Outer Solar System won the Science Writing Award of the American Institute of Physics. Planet Halley: Once in a Lifetime (Donald K Yeomans, co-author) won the Elliott Montroll Special Award of the New York Academy of Sciences. Reviewers described The Heavens on Fire: The Great Leonid Meteor Storms as a "unique achievement," "altogether satisfying," and "a compelling read." Mark holds an endowed professorship, the Hill Chair of Excellence in Science Writing, at the University of Tennessee where he teaches three different courses in writing about science, technology, medicine, and the environment. He has helped lead expeditions to Canada, Hawaii, Bolivia, Aruba, and Turkey to observe total eclipses.

Fred Espenak is the most widely recognized name in solar eclipses. He is a scientisit emeritus at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where he founded and runs the NASA Eclipse Home Page <>, the most consulted website for eclipse information around the globe. His Five Millennium Canons of solar and lunar eclipses are seminal works for researchers, archaeologists, and historians. Fred writes regularly on eclipses for Sky & Telescope and is probably the best known of all eclipse photographers. He leads expeditions for every total solar eclipse and has done so for more than 35 years. In 2003, the International Astronomical Union honored Espenak and his eclipse work by naming asteroid 14120 after him.

Also Available!

Road Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

The Road Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 is a complementary publication of the 2017 Eclipse Bulletin. It contains a comprehensive series of 37 high resolution, full color maps of the path of totality across the USA.

The large scale (1:700,000 or 1 inch = 11 miles) shows both major and minor roads, towns and cities, rivers, lakes, parks, national forests, wilderness areas and mountain ranges.

Armed with this atlas and the latest weather forecasts, the road warrior is ready to chase totality no matter where it takes him/her along the 2500-mile-long path. This mobile strategy offers the highest probability of witnessing the spectacular 2017 total eclipse in clear skies.

For more information visit Road Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017.

Eclipse Bulletin: Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21

The Eclipse Bulletin: Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21 is the complementary publication of the 2017 Road Atlas and is the ultimate guide to this highly anticipated event.

Local circumstances tables for more than 1000 cities across the USA provide times of each phase of the eclipse along with the eclipse magnitude, duration and Sun's altitude. Additional tables cover the eclipse circumstances for cities in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and Europe. An exhaustive climatological study identifies areas along the eclipse path where the highest probability of favorable weather may be found. A travelogue highlights key locations in the eclipse track from Oregon through South Carolina.

Finally, comprehensive information is presented about solar filters and how to safely observe and photograph the eclipse.

For more information visit Eclipse Bulletin: Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21.

Get Eclipsed: The Complete Guide to the American Eclipse

Get Eclipsed is an easy to read, family friendly, inexpensive 2017 eclipse guide for everyone, especially if the total eclipse of the Sun on August 21, 2017 will be your first one.

Get Eclipsed features:

  • How and Why Solar Eclipses Happen
  • Science and History of Solar Eclipses
  • Fun Facts for the Entire Family
  • Helpful Hints for Safe Viewing
  • Illuminating Maps and Diagrams
  • Eclipse times for over a hundred cities
  • Two (2) pairs of Solar Eclipse Glasses

For more information visit Get Eclipsed: The Complete Guide to the American Eclipse.

Atlas of Central Solar Eclipses in the USA

The Atlas of Central Solar Eclipses in the USA contains of a series of 499 global maps showing the geographic track of every total and annular solar eclipse across the USA (including Alaska and Hawaii) during the two-thousand-year period 1001 through 3000. It is accompanied by a catalog that lists the major characteristics of each eclipse including its duration and whether it is visible from the lower 48 states, Alaska and/or Hawaii.

A set of 20 detailed maps, each covering a 50-year period and centered on the lower 48 states, shows the path of every total and annular eclipse. The maps include state boundaries and major cities. These maps also cover southern Canada and northern Mexico.

For more information visit Atlas of Central Solar Eclipses in the USA.