8 Facts You Should Know About the 2017 Solar Eclipse
(courtesy of Sky & Telescope magazine, American Astronomical Society, and Lander University)
1- Lander University is one of five official sites for South Carolina to be selected as an observation point for the eclipse, through a national research experiment known as Citizen CATE (Continental America Telescopic Eclipse). “This means that Lander will receive a set of observation/photography equipment to keep, valued at around $2,500,” said Kelly Hughes, Technical Services Manager with Lander’s Information Technology Services and Chair of the Solar Eclipse Planning Committee. “Training will be scheduled in April at South Carolina State University.”
2- To record the eclipse images, the equipment supplied and used at Lander and all observatory sites is a solar telescope and a CCD camera – a charge-coupled device, first invented in 1969, which can convert light into electrons and deliver high-quality image data.
3- The duration of totality will be 2 minutes 28 seconds when it shadows Greenwood at 2:39 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.
4- This will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the southeastern United States since March 7, 1970.
5- Weird things to watch for: silver colors, the sudden vanishing of breezes, the rapid onset of darkness as the Moon’s umbral (inner) shadow arrives, false twilight and narrow shadows. “The character of shadows also gets perceptibly sharper,” said J. Kelly Beatty, senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, which covers all aspects of amateur astronomy, “because instead of shining on the ground with a round disk, all that’s left is a narrow sliver – almost like the glowing filament in a clear incandescent light bulb – and the colors around you take on a silvery quality. It’s very weird.”
6- This eclipse is expected to be seen by more people than any other before it. “It’s probably safe to predict that this will be the most-watched total solar eclipse in history,” said Dr. Rick Fienberg, press officer with the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C., “because the path of totality crosses a large and populous country — and in the social media age, too.”
7 – The shadow of the Moon will hurtle across the United States at supersonic speeds (2,400 mph), and cross more than 2,400 miles from just north of Newport, Ore., to just beyond McClellanville, S.C. in about 90 minutes.
8- This eclipse will cross only the U.S. and no other country. “Even the last solar eclipse to cross the U.S. in 1918 can’t make that claim, because the track then clipped a couple of islands in the Bahamas,” Beatty said. “Moreover, it’s rare that eclipses have a long, uninterrupted track across a single land mass (in this case, the U.S.), which permits the kind of intensive scientific research that’s otherwise impossible.”