If clouds cooperate and you follow any one of several simple ways to protect your eyes, you will have a chance to witness a partial solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017.
The eclipse is total within a narrow band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, as the darkest part of the Moon’s shadow (the umbra) races across the land. Even within this region, the eclipse is partial, leading up to totality and afterwards, as the darkened New Moon slowly crosses the Sun’s face.
Total solar eclipse is dramatic indeed, when for only a couple minutes or so, the sky has turned like deep twilight, and the brighter stars and planets appear, although it is mid-day. The pitch black circle of the darkened Moon sits in the sky, surrounded by the glowing solar atmosphere known as the corona. The temperature also drops noticeably, without the direct warmth of the Sun.
Streetlights begin to turn on. Roosters start to crow.
For most of America, however, one would never know there was an eclipse going on over one’s head. Depending on how far you are from the total eclipse path, a percentage of the Sun’s face will be covered as the unseen moon glides across. What’s left is a crescent-shaped Sun. Although part of the Sun is blocked out, the remaining crescent is still so brilliant that your surroundings will not seem any different.
On May 10, 1994, I was within a hundred miles of not a total solar eclipse, but an annual solar eclipse. Because the Moon varies in its distance from the Earth, at certain eclipses the Moon will be far enough away so that not all of the Sun’s disc is covered over. Instead, on the eclipse path, a bright ring of the Sun’s face shines in the sky, surrounding the black circle of the Moon. 
Whether it is an annual or a total event, if you are fairly near the eclipse path, the partial solar eclipse will be so deep you may see a notable difference in the landscape.
I needed to work that day and could not travel to see the full, annual eclipse event, but my employer kindly let me go home for an hour or so to observe the deep (about 92%) partial eclipse!
It was fantastic. Only a very thin crescent of the Sun was left, which I safely observed by projecting its image through a telescope, onto a white cardboard screen.
For the occasion I used my very first telescope, a 3” reflector which I purchased from Edmund Scientific Company in 1969.
It looked unlike any crescent Moon. It was so thin, and the cusps came close to touching.
The lighting in my backyard was positively eerie. The sunlight was dim, like you may see through darkened sunglasses, but without the green or amber shade the glasses would give- or an underexposed color photograph. This last only about 15 minutes, around mid-eclipse.
The temperature also dropped six degrees, which I measured with a thermometer.
Looking beneath a leafy tree, I was amazed to see hundreds of small crescent images of the Sun cast upon the grass, caused by the light passing through tiny holes made by the overlapping leaves on the branches. I clenched my fist, leaving only a tiny opening, which cast a crescent Sun on the palm of my other hand.
The eclipse was literally everywhere.
Shadows on the ground, rather than being sharp, became blurred around the edges.
I was absolutely thrilled. 
The Moon slowly moved off and the solar crescent grew bigger and bigger; the landscape lighting returned to normal.
I was a bit sad that life all around me seemed to be unaffected. The sunlight was so dim on the landscape, but it appeared no one noticed. Local primary elections were occurring that day- I mused that perhaps the eclipse would have an affect on the outcome! Turnout was low, as normal. Maybe a few voters were distracted with the rare celestial phenomena in the sky?

For northeastern Pennsylvania, where this column originates, the eclipse on August 21, 2017 will be partial. Approximately 72% of the Sun will be covered at maximum extent. The eclipse starts at approximately 1:19 p.m.; mid-eclipse is 2:41 p.m. and the eclipse is over at about 3:57 p.m. 
To find out the exact circumstances in your area, an excellent, interactive eclipse map may be explored at https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2017-august-21 .

First quarter Moon is on July 30; full Moon is on August 7; last quarter on the 14th and new Moon, on eclipse day, August 21.
Keep looking up!

—Peter Becker is Managing Editor at The News Eagle in Hawley, PA. Notes are welcome at news@neagle.com. Tell me YOUR impressions of past eclipses, or the one on August 21st! Please mention in what newspaper or web site you read this column.