Total Solar Eclipse 2017: Carolinas Prep For Historical Event

CHARLOTTE, NC — A total solar eclipse will be seen across North America for the first time in almost 100 years on Aug. 21, creating a once-in-a-lifetime sight to be seen from Lincoln Beach, Ore. to Charleston, S.C.

There’s plenty of reason for folks in the Charlotte region to get excited about the moon passing between the sun and the earth. While everyone in North America will be able to see at least a partial solar eclipse, proximity to the spectacle of the 70-mile wide total eclipse corridor will be a short drive away.

The path of the Great American Eclipse through the region will clip the mountains of North Carolina before it cuts its trajectory through the Upstate of South Carolina, Columbia, then the coast.

Image credit: NASA

In total, the total eclipse viewing corridor will stretch across 14 states, according to NASA.

The first sighting in the U.S. on Aug. 21 will be in Lincoln Beach, Ore. at 9:05 a.m. PDT (12:05 p.m. EST), and will last be seen in Charleston, S.C. at 4:05 p.m.

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Watch this NASA video illustrating how an eclipse works:

Below is a list of some of the regional Eclipse events planned in the Carolinas. This list will continue to grow, so bookmark this page and check back for updates.

  • Scaly Mountain, N.C. — This town in the Smoky Mountains is celebrating the once-in-a-hundred-year phenomenon with a “Total Blackout Party”at the Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center. There will be live music, trout fishing, gem mining and summer tubing. The partial eclipse is expected to transition to total eclipse here at 2:35 p.m.
  • Gastonia, N.C. — The Schiele Museum and Observatory (1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia) is having a Solar Eclipse Weekend with eclipse-focused planetarium shows. It will also have a live feed of the eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21.
  • Winnsboro, S.C. — 117 years after leading an expedition to Winnsboro to view the 1900 eclipse, Davidson College will return to lead the town’s events.
  • Greenville, S.C.Furman University (3300 Poinsett Highway) is hosting a free viewing of the eclipse at Paladin Stadium from 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m

An interactive map with additional events throughout the U.S. is found here.

Source: NASA
If you can’t travel to a location for the viewing, you can see NASA’s live stream of the eclipse here.

Viewing The Eclipse

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe, and the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special “eclipse glasses” with solar filters, warns NASA.

Here are some tips from NASA regarding safe eclipse viewing:

  • Homemade filters or sunglasses are not safe for looking at the sun. Four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar views meet international standards and they are Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.
  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
  • If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.
  • An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.

Will you be traveling to see the total eclipse? If so, where are you headed? Let us know in the comment section.

Photos courtesy of NASA

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Originally published July 18, 2017.

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