Fayette County Extension

AUGUST 21, 2017 – TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE – “GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE”

This is a huge deal.  Check out the dates/stats below.  www.space.com

The sun will appear completely covered for no more than 160 seconds.

This is the first time a total solar eclipse has gone from one American coast to the other since 1918. It will also be the first time in U.S. history that a total solar eclipse will make landfall exclusively on U.S. soil, meaning it will not be visible from any other country. (This technically happened in 1257 — but, of course, the United States wasn’t a country way back then.)

For that reason, some are calling this upcoming celestial event the “Great American Eclipse.”

GEORGIA – Only the extreme northeast corner of the Peach State will be touched by the moon’s dark shadow between 2:34 and 2:40 p.m. local time (EDT), which is why in a state of more than 10 million people, only about 194,000 are in the total eclipse zone. The Atlanta metropolitan area lies about 85 miles outside the eclipse track to the southwest. But a 75-minute drive on Interstate Highway 85, to just south of Indian Creek, will put you inside the path of totality. The eclipse will be reaching its peak toward the middle of the afternoon, but you should strongly consider leaving well before noontime to avoid any possible traffic jam that might occur if lots of folks suddenly decide to make a last-minute dash to see the total eclipse. Those who stay in Atlanta will see a 97 percent partial eclipse at 2:36 p.m. EDT. The best place in Georgia to watch the eclipse will be in Rabun County, where the county seat of Clayton (pop. 2,300) will be treated to 2 minutes and 34 seconds of total eclipse, beginning at 2:35 p.m. The area around Clayton has long been the location for a number of camps for young people, mostly operated during the summertime. Just north of Clayton is the Black Rock Mountain State Park, where totality will last 2 seconds longer.

  • On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible from the contiguous United States for the first time since 1979. Sky watchers in North America and Hawaii will be able to see at least a partial solar eclipse on that summer day, but most people will have to travel to see the sun completely eclipsed by the moon. If you’re considering making a trip to see the total solar eclipse, here’s a guide to which states and cities fall inside the path. And remember that a trip to see the eclipse could also include stops at a few local attractions.

To quote noted astronomer and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, “A total eclipse of the sun belongs on everyone’s bucket list.” Although many people have likely had the opportunity to view a total eclipse of the moon (since those are visible over a larger area than a total solar eclipse), few people have been lucky enough to see a darkened sun adorned with the soft pearly white halo of the sun’s corona — solar gases streaming millions of miles into interplanetary space — that blossoms briefly during totality. For any spot of land on Earth, there’s an oft-cited average time of 375 years between total solar eclipses. That varies greatly, of course, but it emphasizes the general rarity of these events. [Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)]

Any one person’s chances of witnessing a totally eclipsed sun without traveling far from home are quite small — the “path of totality” of a solar eclipse is rather narrow, so many total eclipses are visible only from remote parts of the globe. But those odds will be considerably increased late this summer for an estimated 225 million people who live within a one-day’s drive of the path (averaging about 70 miles wide) of the moon’s dark shadow as it sweeps from one end of the United States to the other.

On that third Monday of next August, the sun will appear to be partially obscured by the moon to viewers across all of North America and in Hawaii. Just how much of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon will depend on where you’re observing from. For most people in the U.S., the moon will appear to cover at least two-thirds of the sun and in many locations it will be much more than that. Viewers located very close to the path of totality will see only a sliver of the sun remaining. If that’s the case, then most definitely you should try to make an effort to get yourself into the totality path!

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