Monday, August 21, 2017

Where will you be? #totaleclipsechs


2017 Great American Solar Eclipse: The Grand Finale - Charleston, SC

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will traverse this continent from coast to coast—for the first time in 99 years— and then take its leave of the U.S. right here on our shores. While anyone in the country can glimpse a partial eclipse on this phenomenal day, Charleston will join a scattering of cities lined up to witness the Moon fully blot out the Sun. Experts predict that this will be history’s most watched eclipse: public schools will be out for the occasion, and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau foresees a vast influx of “umbraphiles” in a race to see this space case. So where will you be when the out-of-this-world spectacle drops its velvet curtain? Here, brush up on the science behind the eclipse, learn what to expect from this special “solabration,” and plan ahead for your own party in the path.



When & Where to Watch

South Carolina welcomes the eclipse at 2:36 p.m. near Greenville and Anderson, and a mere 12 minutes later, the shadow will have reached our coast. Its center line bisects lakes Marion and Moultrie and then splits the Francis Marion National Forest before heading out to sea via the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge below McClellanville. Those watching along this central path can expect the longest total eclipse duration, some two minutes and 34 seconds, beginning at around 2:47 p.m., while viewers in Mount Pleasant should catch two minutes of full coverage. Charleston rests at the southerly edge of the sight’s 70-mile-wide path, so the city will experience a shorter window of total coverage—about 90 seconds—but will have a better opportunity of glimpsing the red chromosphere and rainbow horizon than those at the path’s direct center. To learn precisely when and how long you’ll get to see the blackout from an exact location, visit NASA’s interactive map at


Embedded thumbnail for The Great American Eclipse: Grand Finale in Charleston
The Great American Eclipse: Grand Finale in Charleston

Embedded thumbnail for Alaska Airlines Solar Eclipse Flight #870
Alaska Airlines Solar Eclipse Flight #870

Embedded thumbnail for Total Solar Eclipse in Svalbard 2015 (Crowd Reaction)
Total Solar Eclipse in Svalbard 2015 (Crowd Reaction)

Embedded thumbnail for Total Solar Eclipse March 29, 2006 Anatalya, Turkey
Total Solar Eclipse March 29, 2006 Anatalya, Turkey

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Get Ready for the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Embedded thumbnail for 5 ways to safely view the 2017 total solar eclipse
5 ways to safely view the 2017 total solar eclipse


Phases of Total Solar Eclipse


The moon starts to overlap the Sun; the eclipse begins.


The moon covers the entire disc of the Sun; total eclipse begins.


The max phase of a total solar eclipse; only the Sun’s corona is visible.


The Moon starts moving away, and parts of the Sun’s disc reappear.


The Moon stops overlapping the Sun; the eclipse ends.


“During a total solar eclipse, a 10- to 15-degree drop in temperature wouldn’t be unusual,” says Dr. Joe Carson of CofC’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Breezes may kick up, and birds will likely quiet.”

Immediately before and after the eclipse, be sure to check out large white or light-colored horizontal surfaces, such as the hood of a car. You should be able to spy undulating lines of light and dark, similar to waves. Scientists believe the optical effect is caused by the thin slices of light passing through atmospheric winds.

To commemorate the eclipse, the U.S. Postal Service will reveal a hot new stamp on June 20. It’s the first to utilize thermochromic ink so that a secret image of the Moon can be uncovered using heat from a finger.

This effect occurs during the few seconds before and after totality while an extremely small fraction of the Sun’s photosphere is still visible.

So named for the astronomer who vividly accounted for the phenomenon, these spots of sunlight break through the cratered surface of the Moon as it slips into and out of its total eclipse position. The necklace-like image bookends the beginning and end of the full eclipse.

A striking display during totality will be the Sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, as well as prominences—flares of gas held in place by the Sun’s magnetic field. “You may see streamers of light pointing from the Sun’s silhouette, as well as strange colors in the sky,” says Carson. For 360 degrees, the horizon will glow as if in an endless sunset. And the Sun’s chromosphere could fire up a thin red ring around the Moon.


Brush up on tips for safe telescope and cameras use and learn about the best way to capture a photo during the brief totality.


Local events to “solarbrate” the eclipse
Take to the open seas and kick back for an unparalleled view of the solar eclipse. The team at The Reel Deal Charters takes their entire fleet of boats into the Charleston Harbor (via multiple ports in the area) to watch the incredible event. Call to reserve a seat, and be sure to bring along your own food and drinks. Locations vary. Monday, 1-4pm. (843)388-5903,

Come party on the sundeck of the Holiday Inn at Mount Pleasant. Sit and sunbathe by the pool, with $3 blue moon in your hand and free hors d'oeuvres for the party. Holiday Inn, 20 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 2pm. (843) 884-6000

Prepare yourself for the eclipse by learning its history and scientific significance. At the Church of the Holy Cross, participants learn how to photograph or view the eclipse safely and effectively, and those under ten even make their own solar viewer using a cereal or shoebox. There are two protected telescopes to allow pre-eclipsed Sun watching as well, so pre-game the eclipse with this weekend workshop. Church of the Holy Cross, 299 Seven Farms Dr., Daniel Island. 3:30-5 p.m. (843) 883-3586,

Experience the solar eclipse in style aboard this luxury yacht. Departing from the Ripley Light Marina, the three-hour cruise includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and an unparalleled view of the eclipse from the Charleston Harbor with protective glasses provided. A portion of the proceeds benefit Darkness to Light, an organization working to prevent child sexual abuse. Carolina Girl, Ripley Light Marina, 56 Ashley Point Dr. 1-4 p.m. $100. (843) 818-2495.

The Children's Museum of the Lowcountry invites the whole family to come celebrate the eclipse while learning from visiting NASA scientists about the phases of the moon, the scale of the solar system, and how and why eclipses occur. Special glasses will be provided for the eclipse. The event is free with CML membership or admission fee. Children's Museum of the Lowcountry, 25 Ann St. Free with general admission. 1-3pm. (843) 853-8962.

Isle of Palms will be completely covered in the eclipse shadow, making this coastal landscape a prime viewing destination. Along with children’s entertainment, musical performances are given by DJ Natty Heavy and Plane Jane to ensure a booming atmosphere for the whole family. Front Beach IOP, 1300 Ocean Blvd. 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Team up with local astronomy buffs to witness the celestial occurrence of a lifetime. Experienced members of the group are stationed at Palmetto Islands County Park and Old Santee Canal Park with telescopes ready to share an up-close view of the eclipse. Palmetto Islands County Park, 444 Needlerush Pkwy., Mount Pleasant. 1-4 p.m. $2. Old Santee Canal Park, 900 Stoney Landing Rd., Moncks Corner. 1-4 p.m $3.

Solar Eclipse, entertainment, and dance (SEED)—what more could you ask for while viewing this historic solar occurrence on scenic Mosquito Beach? Come for the musical performances and culinary art, but stay for the view. Mosquito Beach, 1229 Mosquito Beach. Noon-8 p.m. (843) 818-4587.

Harbor Breeze Restaurant and Bar, located just below the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant, is throwing one of the more festive eclipse viewing parties around. Armed with a full bar, the event offers a specialty Bloody Moon cocktail, sun dried burger sliders topped with your choice of bacon, mozzarella, on a sweet Hawaiian bun, and for dessert: a moon pie for everyone who purchases a ticket. Outdoor seating can be reserved and viewing glasses will be provided. Harbor Breeze Restaurant and Bar, 176 Patriots Point Rd. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (843) 606-2110,

During this two-hour sailboat ride through Charleston Harbor, passengers witness priceless views of the Holy City as well as the total eclipse. Aquarium Wharf, 360 Concord St. Board 12:30 p.m.; cruise 1-3 p.m. $65. (843) 722-1112.


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