By Jesse Wood
On August 21, the “Great American Total Solar Eclipse” will occur along a 70-mile wide path from Salem, Oregon on the West Coast to Charleston, S.C., on the East Coast. While the last total solar eclipse to take place in the continental U.S. happened 47 years ago, the upcoming eclipse will be the first coast-to-coast eclipse since 1918.
Along the “path of totality” for this solar eclipse, daytime darkness will last up to about 2 minutes and 40 seconds as the moon totally covers the son. The temperature will also drop 10 degrees or more and stars will come out if the sky is clear.
Franklin is among the larger towns in the eclipse’s path in North Carolina and those couple minutes of darkness will occur at about 2:35 p.m. EDT.
A complete night sky during the day will not occur outside of the “path of totality.” Folks in Asheville will see the moon cover about 99.2 percent of the sun at 2:37 p.m., while the greatest partial eclipse for Boone will occur at 2:36 p.m. with 95 percent coverage.
While the total eclipse is brief, the entire eclipse event could lasts up to four hours. According to info on Appalachian State’s 2017 solar eclipse page, the first sight of the moon on the solar disk will occur at 1:10 p.m., while the moon completely exits the solar disk at 4:01 p.m.
Obviously, great weather and vantage point is paramount to a solar eclipse viewing. But you must also be situated inside the “path of totality” to experience the rare, natural event in its total awesomeness.
Dan Caton, professor and director of observatories at Appalachian State University in the Department of Astronomy and Physics, encourages everyone to try to venture into that 70-mile wide path on the afternoon of Aug. 21.
“The difference is really night and day,” said Caton, between a partial (even at 95 percent) and total eclipse.
Space.com described a breathtaking total eclipse as follows:
“The disk of the moon blocks out the last sliver of light from the sun, and the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, becomes visible. The corona is far from an indistinct haze; skywatchers report seeing great jets and ribbons of light, twisting and curling out into the sky.
“It brings people to tears,” Rick Fienberg, a spokesperson for the American Astronomical Society (AAS), told Space.com of the experience. “It makes people’s jaw drop.”
Check out a video of a solar eclipse in 2010 in Argentina:
Make sure to follow safety measures when viewing the eclipse. NASA states that the sun is unsafe to directly look at it except during the brief period of a total solar eclipse. When looking at the sun or a partially eclipsed sun, NASA recommends using eclipse glasses or handheld solar views that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard.
Also seek expert advice when attempting to view the eclipse through a camera, telescope, binocular and other optical devices. Click here for NASA’s safety page on solar eclipses.
NASA’s Total Eclipse 2017 page: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/
App State’s Total Eclipse 2017 page: https://cas.appstate.edu/solar-eclipse-2017
NationalEclipse.com: 10 Unique Places To View Total Solar Eclipse
State by State Guide for Viewing Solar Eclipse
Local events: https://cas.appstate.edu/solar-eclipse-2017/events
Kids Learning Event Hosted by Watauga Library July 18 and July 20
The Watauga Library is having a Look up to the Stars program with Kevin Manning on Tuesday, July 18 at 7 p.m. Western Watauga is having the program on Thursday, July 20 at 7 p.m. This is an informational program on the up coming solar eclipse on Aug. 21, geared for ages 8 and up. Free solar glasses will be given out. This program is funded by a community grant from Blue Ridge Energy. More information about this program, click to http://www.lookuptothestars.com/
App State Event Day of Solar Eclipse
Monday, August 21, 2017, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Sanford Mall and Grandfather Mountain Ballroom, Plemmons Student Union @ Appalachian State University
Live streaming of the eclipse from a location of totality, telescopes on the Mall and many interdisciplinary activites on this last day of summer and the day before fall semester classes begin.
Eclipse times in Boone:
- Ingress – 1st sight of Moon on solar disk – 1:10 p.m.
- Greatest partial eclipse ~ 95% coverage – 2:36 p.m.
- Egress – Moon completely leaves solar disk – 4:01 p.m.
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