The August 2017 total solar eclipse in the United States is quickly approaching and there are many science organizations and media outlets advertising it. That's a good thing! Unfortunately not all of the advertising is entirely correct. For example, I recently read the follow in a local publication:
"The August 2017 total solar eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse in the United States in nearly 100 years."
Um. No. That is factually incorrect. Solar eclipses are relatively rare, but the United States is quite large. There have been several total solar eclipses in the last 100 years in which the path of totality touched the United States. If you remove Hawaii and Alaska, which makes no sense since they are part of the United States, there are still a few total solar eclipses touching the continental United States.
The above statement is missing a key phrase. It should read:
The August 2017 total solar eclipse will be the first total eclipse to cross from the west coast to the east coast of the United States in nearly 100 years."
See the difference? In fact, one of my colleagues witnessed the total solar eclipse in 1970 as a kid. This eclipse just skirted the eastern United States. I think he would be shocked to find out that (a) he's over 100 years old, or (b) wasn't in the United States when he observed the eclipse. :-)