INDIANAPOLIS (WSVN) — The countdown is on until a total solar eclipse crosses various parts of the United States.

The sun was out in Indianapolis on Sunday at an American landmark: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The venue will be playing host to eclipse watchers from all over the country, ready to take in a rare site.

“Indianapolis will be the best weather nationwide,” said Trevor Peters from Purdue University.

Peters and his colleagues are gearing up to look up and bring the science behind the celestial sensation down to Earth.

“Our researchers are dealing with that every single day. They’ll hear from them first hand, and they’ll hear from NASA experts,” he said. “We have a major event happening in our backyard, and Boilermakers are there, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

Next month, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be packed with race fans watching the Indy 500, dubbed the greatest spectacle in racing. But on Monday, they’ll trade their sunglasses for eclipse glasses and look up at one of the greatest spectacles in the sky.

A total eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly in front of the sun. South Florida will see a partial eclipse, about 50%, but some parts of the country will go completely dark for about four minutes.

Cities from Mexico to Maine will be in the path of totality, and while cloud cover could obscure the view in cities like Dallas, Indianapolis is forecast to see a picture perfect view at around 3 p.m. Scientists said it’s the last total eclipse of the sun that the planet will see for two decades.

“It’s all part of this learning experience,” said Jacob Bleacher, NASA’s chief exploration scientist.

That’s a big job, and where else would Bleacher be but in Indianapolis for this big moment?

“When you work on this every day, it’s a job, right? But at the same time, you take a breath, and you look around. You experience an event like this just like everyone around this area and along the path will do,” said Bleacher. “I mean, it just drives home how important and exciting it is for us to understand our Earth — our Earth, moon and sun, our solar system — and the place that we have in it.”

The sun will be out on Monday, but this is the moon’s time to shine, or in this case, to obscure.

The moon will be casting a shadow on our small part of the planet, perhaps to remind us just how small we are in the solar system, or perhaps to lead us to learn more.

“I think the most important thing to take away from a big event like this is just the amazement of curiosity,” said Bleacher. “Just ask questions, just wrap yourself in knowledge and learning, and that’s really what science is all about.”

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