The Eclipse is Coming

What is being termed a “once in a generation” event is coming to Columbia. And most of us won’t even need to leave our houses to get a front-row seat. The event? A Total Solar Eclipse. Yes this is very exciting! Here are a few things that want to know.

The exact time when the moon will cover up the entire sun is 2:41 pm on Monday August 21st, and it will last for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The partial eclipse will last for about and hour and a half before and after the full eclipse, but the sun will still be so bright that you won’t really be able to tell – except for some dimming very close to the full eclipse. What’s really important is that you never look at the sun with just your normal sun glasses. You could cause serious and permanent damage to your eyes. Always use certified eclipse sun glasses. And NASA now recommends only using glasses with ISO 12312-2 printed on them that have been manufactured by one of the 4 U.S. companies: American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

Use your eclipse glasses to view the partial eclipse leading up to the full eclipse. When you can no longer see the sun through your eclipse glasses, the sky will go dark. At that time you can remove your glasses during the total eclipse – which lasts about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. As the total eclipse ends, you’ll see what’s called the diamond ring effect. (See picture below) That’s when it’s time to put your glasses back on.

What will the weather be like on that day? With the Eclipse still several weeks away, there’s no way to say definitively if it will be cloudy or sunny at 2:41 PM on Monday August 21st. So the best we can do now is give a historical perspective at the odds of it being cloudy or sunny. Looking back suggests that there’s about a 50-50 chance that we’ll be able to view the eclipse without clouds in the way. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we get a bright and sunny day!

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