Those of us here in South Carolina are about to witness a unique and spectacular event – a total solar eclipse and Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston are in the path of totality! This total solar eclipse is the first in the continental United States in nearly 40 years and takes place on Aug. 21, 2017.
The Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math, the SC NASA Space Grant Consortia, and the College of Charleston (Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Geology) have been working with entities across the Lowcountry in preparation for the upcoming eclipse. The first total solar eclipse in the continental United States in nearly 40 years takes place on Aug. 21, 2017!
This celestial event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location. For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.
There are numerous locations around the Charleston area where you can safely witness this event. Safety is of extreme importance! You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality. That could severely hurt your eyes. There are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing – which requires some type of filtering device, like eclipse glasses (make sure they are ISO certified) and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen. For a cool projector that you can make, check out http://richardsont.people.cofc.edu/safe_solar_folder/index.html
In addition, numerous organizations are holding events to safely view this spectacular event. We hope you will take advantage of one of these, specifically those with NASA and/or College subject matter experts. A map of these events is below (it is a dynamic map and so if it does not show up, please try a different browser). If you would like to include an event on this site, please contact Cynthia Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Department of Physics and Astronomy will also be at several events, which can be accessed at https://sites.google.com/view/cofceclipse2017.
Also, be sure to check out the various stories about the eclipse and the College of Charleston team…
- NASA’s New Braille Book
- Ballooning Team at Stall High School