HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Two months from today, the Great American Eclipse will cross the United States. This is the first time since the thirteenth century that an eclipse has cut across the United States, only touching U.S soil.
“The shadow of the moon will only touch on United States territory and no other country, ” explained Bill Cooke. “This is extremely rare.”
Everyone in the United States will be within a day and half drive from the path of totality. “That’s the thin 60 to 70 mile wide path that the moon’s shadow is going to cut through,” said Cooke.
Meaning a path of all of the places across the United States where you can see the total eclipse on August 21. “Here in Huntsville it will be partial. The sun will be at 97% obscure,” explained Cooke.
The line of totality passes clear across the states, cutting across just north of us here in Alabama, crossing through Nashville and surrounding communities.
But depending on what part of North Alabama you’re in, you are only about 2 hours away from where you can view it with your own eyes.
NASA Astronomer Bill Cooke says, it’s totally worth it. He saw the 1979 eclipse. “Light will get dimmer, shadows will look more intense. Colors will fade.”
The sun will become obscure. “Eventually you’ll see almost all of it gone, and almost like a diamond ring effect, which is the last amount of sunlight before the moon totally covers the sun. You’ll look up and where the sun was. You’ll see what looks like a black hole,” says Cooke.
You’ll have only minutes to check out the eclipse, so take pictures, but Cooke says to make sure you also take a second to just enjoy it.
“It’s weird, it’s eerie, but you’ll totally understand why the ancients were freaked out by the eclipse. Because it just ain’t natural,” said Cooke.
But remember safety. ”Don’t look at the sun directly with your eyes.” He suggests using approved glasses to watch the full eclipse, not sunglasses.
Once the sun has gone into the full eclipse, it is safe to view with your eyes. “But be sure you look away from the sun before totality ends. The eclipse is wonderful but it’s not worth damaging your eyesight over,” said Cooke.
If this is something you want to see—plan early! Google is already projecting major traffic back ups along all major highways and interstates leading into areas where the full eclipse will be visible.
Want more info? Check out https://www.nasa.gov/