What to Expect During the Event
As you’ve likely heard, we’re less than one week away from an iconic total solar eclipse. The event will happen Monday, August 21st beginning around 9 a.m. PDT in Oregon and ending around 2:50 p.m. EDT in South Carolina. Here are some fun facts about the big event:
The last total solar eclipse to span the length of the continental U.S. was on June 8, 1918, which means your parents and even your grandparents have likely never seen one.
The eclipse’s “path of totality” refers to the exact path that the moon’s shadow creates over the Earth. It’s only in this path that you can see the sun completely covered by the moon.
People in 14 different states will be in the path of totality: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina.
The moon will travel at various speeds (from 3,000 mph down to 1,500 mph) as it crosses the U.S. This means totality will last anywhere between 2 minutes and almost 3 minutes, depending on where you view it.
Solar eclipses happen on average 1-2 times per year, but many don’t pass over populated areas.
When the moon completely covers the sun, those in the path of totality will experience a darkness similar to dusk and will be able to see stars, the planet Venus, and the sun’s corona (the aura of plasma that surrounds it).
Only one major city will have a great view of the eclipse: Nashville, Tennessee.
The United States is the only country that will be lucky enough to experience totality (other countries will be able to see only a partial solar eclipse). The last time this happened was on January 11, 1880.
When totality occurs, animals will become confused and think it’s night time – birds will fall silent, spiders will take down their webs, crickets will chirp, bees and ants will return to their nests, and mosquitos will start biting.
Those of us in Pennsylvania aren’t lucky enough to be in the path of totality, but we’ll be able to see the moon covering 75%-80% of the sun.
Remember, never look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse. Even if the moon is covering part of it, it can still permanently damage your eyes. Make sure you have the right glasses if you want to look directly at the eclipse (sorry, sunglasses aren’t protective enough).