Monday, August 21, 2017

Where will you be? #totaleclipsechs


2017 Great American Solar Eclipse: The Grand Finale - Charleston, SC

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will traverse this continent from coast to coast—for the first time in 99 years— and then take its leave of the U.S. right here on our shores. While anyone in the country can glimpse a partial eclipse on this phenomenal day, Charleston will join a scattering of cities lined up to witness the Moon fully blot out the Sun. Experts predict that this will be history’s most watched eclipse: public schools will be out for the occasion, and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau foresees a vast influx of “umbraphiles” in a race to see this space case. So where will you be when the out-of-this-world spectacle drops its velvet curtain? Here, brush up on the science behind the eclipse, learn what to expect from this special “solabration,” and plan ahead for your own party in the path.



When & Where to Watch

South Carolina welcomes the eclipse at 2:36 p.m. near Greenville and Anderson, and a mere 12 minutes later, the shadow will have reached our coast. Its center line bisects lakes Marion and Moultrie and then splits the Francis Marion National Forest before heading out to sea via the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge below McClellanville. Those watching along this central path can expect the longest total eclipse duration, some two minutes and 34 seconds, beginning at around 2:47 p.m., while viewers in Mount Pleasant should catch two minutes of full coverage. Charleston rests at the southerly edge of the sight’s 70-mile-wide path, so the city will experience a shorter window of total coverage—about 90 seconds—but will have a better opportunity of glimpsing the red chromosphere and rainbow horizon than those at the path’s direct center. To learn precisely when and how long you’ll get to see the blackout from an exact location, visit NASA’s interactive map at


Embedded thumbnail for The Great American Eclipse: Grand Finale in Charleston
The Great American Eclipse: Grand Finale in Charleston

Embedded thumbnail for Alaska Airlines Solar Eclipse Flight #870
Alaska Airlines Solar Eclipse Flight #870

Embedded thumbnail for Total Solar Eclipse in Svalbard 2015 (Crowd Reaction)
Total Solar Eclipse in Svalbard 2015 (Crowd Reaction)

Embedded thumbnail for Total Solar Eclipse March 29, 2006 Anatalya, Turkey
Total Solar Eclipse March 29, 2006 Anatalya, Turkey

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Get Ready for the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Embedded thumbnail for 5 ways to safely view the 2017 total solar eclipse
5 ways to safely view the 2017 total solar eclipse


Phases of Total Solar Eclipse


The moon starts to overlap the Sun; the eclipse begins.


The moon covers the entire disc of the Sun; total eclipse begins.


The max phase of a total solar eclipse; only the Sun’s corona is visible.


The Moon starts moving away, and parts of the Sun’s disc reappear.


The Moon stops overlapping the Sun; the eclipse ends.


“During a total solar eclipse, a 10- to 15-degree drop in temperature wouldn’t be unusual,” says Dr. Joe Carson of CofC’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Breezes may kick up, and birds will likely quiet.”

Immediately before and after the eclipse, be sure to check out large white or light-colored horizontal surfaces, such as the hood of a car. You should be able to spy undulating lines of light and dark, similar to waves. Scientists believe the optical effect is caused by the thin slices of light passing through atmospheric winds.

To commemorate the eclipse, the U.S. Postal Service will reveal a hot new stamp on June 20. It’s the first to utilize thermochromic ink so that a secret image of the Moon can be uncovered using heat from a finger.

This effect occurs during the few seconds before and after totality while an extremely small fraction of the Sun’s photosphere is still visible.

So named for the astronomer who vividly accounted for the phenomenon, these spots of sunlight break through the cratered surface of the Moon as it slips into and out of its total eclipse position. The necklace-like image bookends the beginning and end of the full eclipse.

A striking display during totality will be the Sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, as well as prominences—flares of gas held in place by the Sun’s magnetic field. “You may see streamers of light pointing from the Sun’s silhouette, as well as strange colors in the sky,” says Carson. For 360 degrees, the horizon will glow as if in an endless sunset. And the Sun’s chromosphere could fire up a thin red ring around the Moon.


Brush up on tips for safe telescope and cameras use and learn about the best way to capture a photo during the brief totality.


Local events to “solarbrate” the eclipse
Blue Pearl Farms in McClellanville lies directly in the eclipse’s path, which means over two and a half minutes of totality. For an unparalleled view of this solar occurrence, pack up your chairs, blankets, and viewing glasses and head out to the farm. Live music will serve as entertainment before and after the big event, and guests can enjoy food and refreshments (including the farm’s famous blueberry lemonade). Blue Pearl Farms, 9760 Randall Rd., McClellanville. Noon-5 p.m. $5. (843) 887-3554,

Join this group of local experts and enthusiasts for a safe observation of the solar eclipse. Learn more about the night sky as you view this rare event through projection and solar-filtered telescopes. Charlotte Street Park Irish Memorial, 1 Charlotte St. 1-4 p.m. Free.

The Citadel Mall hosts an eclipse viewing party featuring kid’s activities, food trucks, and live entertainment, with all benefits going to Darkness to Light, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of child abuse in Charleston. Located in the parking lot across from Planet Fitness, official educational materials and special Space Place items are handed out courtesy of NASA. Citadel Mall, 2070 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. 1-3 p.m. (843) 766-8321.

The Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina invites stargazers to a midday party at The Beach Club to celebrate the astronomical event. Adults can enjoy a live performance by the Dubplates and themed cocktail, “The Sunblocker,” while kids participate in activities held in the Children’s Area. VIP packages including food and beverages are also available. Sunset Patio & Beachside at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, 20 Patriots Point Rd., Mount Pleasant. 1-5 p.m. $10; $5 child under 12. (843) 856-0028.

Science comes to Smyth Park at this eclipse viewing party where participants will be guided through contact points and when to remove and replace their goggles for viewing. The event is live streamed on YouTube as there will be plenty of science experiments happening. Don’t be too shy to ask questions, science professionals are there to explain it all! Smythe Park, 2364 Daniel Island Dr. 1-4:30 p.m. (843) 473-8061,

Get educated and enthralled at the South Carolina Aquarium, where, along with their daily shows, there will be special information sessions on the eclipse, livestream videos of animal behavior in the wild as the eclipse approaches, and outdoor areas in which to view the eclipse as it occurs. South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf. 9am-4pm. Free with general admission.

Laugh it up and revel in some eclipse-centric humor as Washington DC's best Science Comedy show visits Charleston for one night only. Featuring Comedy Central National Award winner Robert Mac and the host of NASA's Earth Expedition mini web series Kasha Patel, this family-friendly event is bound to be one that both educates and entertains. Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. Monday, 7pm. $25. (843) 853-2252

This one’s for you, sports fans. Arrive early to The Joe for this pre-game event with special guests from NASA and more. The festivities begin at 1 p.m., but be sure to stick around for the first pitch of the RiverDogs game at 4 p.m. Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, 360 Fishburne St. Gates open 1 p.m.; game starts 4:05 p.m. $20-$8. (843) 723-7241.

Spend the afternoon at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, where specialized viewing glasses are provided to the first 3,000 guests aboard the USS Yorktown. Prior to the eclipse, Dr. Christian Iliadis, a physics professor from UNC Chapel Hill, speaks on the science behind the occurrence. Space-themed activities are available for kids, and a live stream of NASA’s event coverage broadcasts on the hangar deck. Patriots Point, 40 Patriots Point Rd., Mount Pleasant. $22-$17. (843) 884-2727.

There’s no better spot to get a view of the eclipse than Pier 101 on Folly Beach. Bathe in the sun while you can, then put on your free eclipse viewing glasses for a safe view. The ocean breeze along with live music by Band of Brothers should be more than enough to make this a day full of fun and wonder. Pier 101 Folly Beach, 101 E Artic Ave. 1-4 p.m. (843) 633-0246.


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