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.