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!