Sunday, August 20, 2017

South Carolina Total Solar Eclipse!

A grand celestial event is coming to the United States tomorrow: a total solar eclipse that will sweep across the middle of the country, starting in California and ending in South Carolina! This has been a very big deal for months now all over the country in the states where the 70 mile wide band of totality falls. People are flocking to areas where they can experience an eclipse at 100% totality. I live in Florence, SC, where the sun will "only" be 99.5% eclipsed. I don't think we're going to bother driving the 30 minutes it would take to get to Kingstree (the closest town to us to achieve totality) for less than 1%  gain.

A total solar eclipse is a truly rare event in any human's life. I can't wait to sit outside tomorrow afternoon and experience one! Ancient humans would have thought the world was ending....the religious down through the centuries have considered them mighty omens of a king dying or a nation being destroyed. Astrologers believe that eclipses bring endings, beginnings, revelations, change, and upheaval.  It's seems awfully ironic that this eclipse will go right through the middle of the USA in 2017 given our political climate!

Superstition aside, I'm especially interested in the science of it all. My very limited knowledge of  astronomy comes from things like watching Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson (a personal hero of mine) and years of getting a Skywatch weekly email. I try to get outside during the big annual meteor showers, I can pick out most of the major constellations, and I try not to miss lunar eclipses. So tomorrow is going to be a real treat for me--and one that won't occur in this area again until sometime in the 2070s. I'll be almost 100 years old then if I'm still alive. I'm not counting on making it to that one!

The schools here (as I mentioned yesterday) are closed tomorrow so the students can enjoy the eclipse with their families. Gregg will be at home with me because Monday is one of his regular days off. It feels like it's going to be a special day and it will most definitely be a memorable one! I'll report back Tuesday.


  1. Wise choice of staying home, we are doing the same. Our five grandchildren are staying here Sunday night and will watch safely from our front porch.

  2. For some reason, I'm just not very excited about this. I have no idea why. I vaguely remember one from my childhood and it didn't make much of an impression. But I'll be watching.

  3. It is an amazing moment and the drop in temperature will hit you before anything else and the birds will stop singing. It is truly something amazing. xxx

  4. Lucky you. Our next total will be about 60 years after I have died - if I am lucky...

  5. If I lived in Florence I would travel into the total eclipse zone. If you don't you may well regret it in the future.

  6. It is starting in Oregon so friends their are having fun getting ready for it. What a hoot !
    How exciting for you to be so close. I would stay home too, crazy traffic and crazed people.
    I will watch it on TV as Tucson will have some but... It might be cloudy here.
    Goodness I forgot what Rachel said about the temperature drop and when the birds go quiet.
    This is very exciting !

    Have fun.
    cheers, parsnip

  7. A boffin and his wife from the village has flown to oregon to see it! Silly buggers

    1. Has Cameron the teenage boffin got a wife now?

  8. I remember one when I was quite young. The street lights came on, the temperature dropped sharply and the birds all started to roost in trees.

  9. There won't be another to view in the U.S. until 2024 I think.

  10. Just to add, I heard you will have 2 minutes of darkness. I am sure what I experienced went longer.