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When was the last total solar eclipse in the U.S.? Revisiting 2017 in maps and photos

Indianapolis prepares for solar eclipse
Indianapolis Motor Speedway transforms into viewing party for solar eclipse 03:27

While today's total solar eclipse is set to dazzle U.S. skywatchers, it hasn't been that long since the nation was last captivated by another total solar eclipse. Eclipse-chasers across the country enjoyed the show in 2017, when darkness fell for a few minutes in cities in the path of totality across the country.

The 2017 eclipse was the first visible in U.S. skies in nearly four decades. Its path of totality spanned from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, making it the first eclipse in 99 years visible across the country.

When was the last total solar eclipse in the United States?

Before today's eclipse, the last solar eclipse visible in the U.S. occurred on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Its path of totality started on the West Coast. The lunar shadow — the shadow cast by the moon on the Earth's surface as it was back-lit by the sun — entered the U.S. near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 9:05 a.m. local time, reaching totality there at 10:16 a.m. local time, according to NASA. The moon's shadow swept across all U.S. states, traveling at more than 1,200 miles per hour, as watchers in 14 states got to experience totality. The darkness of totality hit watchers in Charleston, South Carolina, at 2:48 p.m. local time, and the last of the lunar shadow left the U.S. at 4:09 p.m. ET.

COLUMBIA, SC - AUGUST 21: Minor league baseball players Dash Winningham (34) and Justin Brantley (4), with the Columbia Fireflies, watch a solar eclipse at Spirit Communications Park August 21, 2017 in Columbia, South Carolina.   Sean Rayford/Getty Images

What was the path of totality for the last solar eclipse in 2017?

This map shows the path of the moon's umbral shadow – in which the sun was completely obscured by the moon – during the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, as well as the fraction of the sun's area covered by the moon outside the path of totality. A partial eclipse was visible throughout the United States. NASA

Eclipse-watchers in the U.S. got to experience totality from coast to coast, as the path stretched across 14 states in the continental U.S., but even those outside the 70-mile-wide path of totality saw a partial eclipse. All U.S. states — and all of North America — got to experience at least a partial eclipse in 2017.

This animation shows the moon's shadow cross the Western Hemisphere during the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. NASA

Photos of people watching the 2017 eclipse

People flocked to the path of totality for the 2017 solar eclipse, the first visible across the U.S. in nearly a century. Viewing parties were held in cities and towns along the path, and the 20 national parks along the 70-mile-wide path hosted crowds of people eager to see darkness fall during daylight. Even those outside the path of totality gathered outside to see the partial eclipse during the rare event.

People watch the solar eclipse at Saluki Stadium on the campus of Southern Illinois University on Aug. 21, 2017 in Carbondale, Illinois. The city is also in the path of totality for the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse. Scott Olson/Getty Images
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump look up at the partial solar eclipse from the balcony of the White House in Washington, DC, on Aug. 21, 2017. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Solar Eclipse Visible Across Swath Of U.S.
Brothers Chris and Gabe Fabiano watch the solar eclipse on the beach on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, on August 21, 2017. Win McNamee / Getty Images
Steve Kaltenhauser of Calgary, Canada, watches with the crowd during a total solar eclipse from the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience on Aug. 21, 2017 in Madras, Oregon. Emotional sky-gazers on the U.S. West Coast cheered and applauded Monday as the Sun briefly vanished behind the moon. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
A spectator looks skyward during a partial eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21, 2017 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York.  Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photos of the 2017 eclipse

Photographers across the country captured the eclipse as the moon's shadow swept across all 50 states. While the path of totality was a relatively narrow 70-mile-wide band, eclipse-watchers in all 50 states were able to see at least a partial eclipse.

The solar eclipse is seen behind the Statue of Liberty at Liberty Island on August 21, 2017 in New York City.
A partial solar eclipse is seen behind the Statue of Liberty at Liberty Island on Aug. 21, 2017 in New York City. While New York was not in the path of totality for the solar eclipse, around 72% of the sun was covered by the moon during the peak time of the partial eclipse. Noam Galai/WireImage
Solar Eclipse Visible Across Swath Of U.S.
In this NASA handout composite image, the progression of a partial solar eclipse Aug. 21, 2017 over Ross Lake, in Northern Cascades National Park, Washington. Bill Ingalls/NASA / Getty Images
solar eclipse 2017 oregon
Tanner Person, right, and Josh Blink, both from Vacaville, California, watch a total solar eclipse at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, near Mitchell, Oregon, on Mon., Aug. 21, 2017. Reuters
A total solar eclipse seen from the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience on Aug. 21, 2017 in Madras, Oregon.  Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Solar Eclipse Visible Across Swath Of U.S.
A total eclipse is seen from South Mike Sedar Park on Aug. 21, 2017 in Casper, Wyoming.  Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Photos of the eclipse's effects on Earth

People didn't just photograph the eclipse itself — they captured its effects on Earth in other ways. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured the moon's shadow casting darkness on Earth, while eclipse-watchers back on the planet's surface saw how the celestial event changed — however briefly — the world around them.

Six astronauts had a unique perspective on the solar eclipse from 250 miles above Earth on the International Space Station.  Paolo Nespoli/ ESA/NASA
The University of Toronto offereed a free solar eclipse viewing event to CNE goers, who gathered near the Better Living Centre.
A steaming pot shows the eclipse in its shadows on Aug. 21, 2017 at the University of Toronto. Canada experienced a partial solar eclipse in 2017. Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Albany Times Union
A sun spotter — a type of safe eclipse viewer — shows the eclipse at the Dudley Observatory at miSci on Monday Aug. 21, 2017 in Schenectady, N.Y. Lori Van Buren/Albany Times Union via Getty Images
"Total Eclipse of the Park" Eclipse Party in Louisville, Kentucky
Crescents that are the shadows of the eclipse could be seen on the ground through the shade of trees during the event at the eclipse at the "Total Eclipse of the Park" eclipse party at the E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky on Aug. 21, 2017. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images
NEWS: AUG 21 Total Solar Eclipse
A woman holds a shadow after the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, at Mary's River Covered Bridge, in Chester, Illinois. Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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