Total Solar Eclipse, Skywatchers Prepare!
By Debbie Gregory
The upcoming total solar eclipse continues to be the big news around here and with less than a week remaining before the magical skywatching event, Middle Tennesseans as well as other folks across the country are preparing for the experience of a lifetime!
Experts are saying that this is unlike anything you have ever witnessed and what makes it so special is that it will cut diagonally across the entire United States on Monday, August 21.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the sun and earth, fully blocking the sun. The path of totality will begin in Oregon and into Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Lafayette is in the path of totality and skywatchers will see approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds of totality beginninng at 1:28 p.m.
According to NASA, a total solar eclipse changes the very air around you – the skies will darken, temperatures will drop, bright stars will appear at a time that is normally broad daylight, and some birds may become confused by the lack of light and could exhibit odd behaviors such as going quiet, thinking that night is falling.
You will need to protect your eyes by using eclipse glasses, solar viewers, or by making a pinhole projector to view this heavenly phenomenon. Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase (totality) when the moon entirely blocks the suns bright face.
The Macon County Public Library System is out of free Solar Eclipse glasses at both the Macon County Public Library and RBS Branch Library. They don’t know if they will be getting any more glasses in.
“We are having school on Monday, August 21,” said Macon County School Director Tony Boles. “We are making plans to teach lessons related to the eclipse. To view the eclipse at school, students must have a signed permission slip. We will be providing solar eclipse glasses for students, faculty and the staff.”
“The main reason we are having school is we felt like if students were at home they might possibly be unsupervised,” added Director Boles, “and at school they will be supervised. We just thought this was the best thing to do.”
This total solar eclipse will be extremely beautiful and experts say this will be something to talk about for years to come. NASA says that the corona, which is the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere, will be visible on Monday as it surrounds the eclipsed sun.
Reports also say that August 21, 2017, may be one of the worst traffic days in national history. Although about 12 million people live within the narrow band of totality, approximately 25 million reside within a day’s drive of it, and the report estimates that the population inside the path of totality may double on the day of the eclipse.
A million people are expected to come to the Middle Tennessee area that day.
Folks, this heavenly event will be a memory of a lifetime, so skywatchers get ready, for the Great American Total Solar Eclipse!