Can’t get to one of the cities and towns in the path of August 21’s total solar eclipse? Understandable — hotels in those areas are pretty much booked solid and have been for a while, and I don’t even want to check AirBnB prices. Not to worry — you’ll get a consolation prize. The whole nation will get treated to at least a partial eclipse that day. If you want to get a preview of what you can expect, Time has a tool that will give you just that.
The animated graphic will show you the path the moon will take as it passes between Earth and the sun on the 21st over a six-hour span. The total eclipse can be seen in a narrow band running from South Carolina and Oregon, roping in major cities in the middle like Nashville and St. Louis. If you’re farther outside of that band — say, in Los Angeles or Anchorage — you’ll still see a partial eclipse. It’ll just be more like someone messing with the dimmer switch than turning off the lights.
The tool is adjusted for effect — the moon won’t be that easy to see until it passes in front of the sun, and the sky won’t actually get that dark in areas that will see a partial eclipse. Still, it’s enough information to tell you whether you should stay at home or make the effort to get somewhere closer to the total eclipse zone. Just know you might have to sleep in the car.