Next Week in History: The Great American Eclipse – August 21, 2017


On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.

The last total eclipse in the United States from coast to coast occurred almost 100 years ago on June 8, 1918. The path of totality stretched from the south west corner of Washington State, through Denver, the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, Jackson, Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida. The last total eclipse visible in South Carolina occurred on March 7, 1970. From central Florida, the path hugged the eastern coast of the United States up through Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The Coastal Plain of South Carolina had front row seat.

An annular solar eclipse was visible in Upstate on May 30, 1984. An annular eclipses means the moon is just distant enough from the earth so as not to cover the disk of the sun completely. The optical effect is a circle of sunlight around the black disk of the moon.

This week, most of South Carolina is in for a treat as the path of totality passes through Greenville, Lexington and Charleston. Happy and especially safe viewing!


This Week in History – August 5, 1912


August 5, 1912: The Swedish businessman-diplomat Raoul Wallenberg became one of the civilian heroes ofWorld War II. He used his position as a neutral Swedish citizen to help about 100,000 Hungarian Jews escape deportation to Nazi death camps. For his selfless work he was granted honorary United States citizenship—only the second foreigner, after Winston Churchill, to be so honored.
Wallenberg was born to a wealthy family of bankers and diplomats in Stockholm, Sweden, on Aug. 5, 1912. In 1935 he became the foreign representative of a European trading firm whose president was a Hungarian Jew. With the help of American and Swedish Jewish and refugee organizations, Wallenberg obtained a diplomatic mission in German-occupied Budapest in 1944. When the Nazis sent mobile death squads into Hungary later that year, Wallenberg used false passports and documents to accomplish daring rescues of Jewish prisoners scheduled for deportation to Nazi concentration camps. Thousands of Jews were then sheltered in safe houses where they were protected under neutral flags.
On Jan. 17, 1945, after Soviet troops entered Budapest, Wallenberg was arrested on trumped-up charges of espionage and sent to a Soviet prison camp. He was never heard from again. The Soviets later admitted that the arrest had been a mistake but insisted Wallenberg had died of a heart attack in a Moscow prison cell in 1947. No proof was ever offered. As late as 1990 reports that he was still alive persisted. But in 2000, Russian investigators admitted that Wallenberg had probably been murdered.
Raoul Wallenberg. (2017). InEncyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from