You’ve probably heard about the solar eclipse happening this coming August, but you might be wondering: What is all the hype about?
One of the things that makes this special is that you get to experience a total eclipse of the sun. That means the moon will align with the sun perfectly to block the total diameter of its light from the earth. As in, day will turn to night for a few moments (up to 2 minutes and 40.2 seconds to be exact).
A total solar eclipse hasn’t happened in the United States since 1979. And if that doesn’t pique your interest, this year's event is a transcontinental solar eclipse, which means that the path of the eclipse will traverse across the entire country. That hasn’t happened in almost 100 years.
Although everyone in the United States will be able to witness some part of the eclipse, you'll be able to see the full eclipse from only 10 states, including parts of South Carolina. If you're viewing the event here, you will be able to remove your eclipse glasses and get the full effect of the moon completely blocking the sun’s light – the day turns to night and you can see the stars in the daytime. Other states get only a partial view, and are required to wear protective glasses during the entire eclipse.
Astronomy experts have named Columbia as one of the five best places to view the celestial event, and the Midlands is preparing to host more than 120 eclipse-related events. And the SC State Museum is serving as the eclipse educational headquarters. Other large South Carolina cities that will get a great view include Greenville and Charleston.
Witnessing a total solar eclipse is extraordinary not only because of its rarity, but also because of the awesome way nature tends to respond to the sun and moon’s alignment. For example, an August afternoon in South Carolina is bound to be warm, particularly in “Famously Hot” Columbia. But as the moon moves to block the sun’s rays, there will be an immediate and evident temperature drop that accompanies the darkness to offer both astonishment and some relief to the heat. You might also see animals acting out of sorts, behaving as they would at dusk or nighttime.
The bottom line is that on Aug. 21, 2017, South Carolina will be host to a stellar show that folks are calling the "sight of a lifetime." This eclipse is expected to be the most viewed in history, and as South Carolina is the last place to view the eclipse in North America.