Solar Eclipse: What to expect on August 21st

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — In just four weeks, a solar eclipse will be visible from all fifty states as well as parts of South America, Europe, and Africa.

Lucky for us – we don’t have to go far for some of the best views.

On August 21st, the moon will pass between the sun and the earth, casting a shadow of darkness across the US from coast to coast in the middle of the day.

Dr. Nicholeen Viall, a scientist at NASA, says, “The path of totality, the path where this moon blocks the sun’s light, the main body of the sun, comes in through Oregon, goes across the United States and exits out of South Carolina. And so it crosses 14 states.”

One of those 14 states is Tennessee. The 70 mile wide swath of totality passes just north of Chattanooga, stretching from about Cleveland up to near Oak Ridge, including several small towns along the way.

Describing totality, NASA scientist Dr. Alex Young says, ” So for two to two and a half minutes, you will see the sun completely blocked out by the moon. In that case, it allows us to see the very faint outer atmosphere called the corona.”

That will briefly disrupt much of nature.

Dr. Young continues, “In addition, the whole environment around you is going to change. It’s going to be about as dark as a moon-lit night, animals are going to get quiet and kind of spooked, temperatures will drop five to ten or even more degrees. And it’s going to change the whole environment for a sudden, but short period of time.”

Even in downtown Chattanooga on that Monday, you will experience a partial eclipse with 99.5 five percent of the sun blocked by the moon at 2:33 p.m. in the afternoon. Obstruction of the sun will begin in Chattanooga at 1:02 p.m. and last until 3:58 p.m.

Down in Dalton, 99.2 percent of the sun will be blocked by the moon at maximum eclipse. That will be at 2:34 p.m. The entire partial eclipse in Dalton will last from 1:03 p.m. until 4:59 p.m.

“And even if you’re not in the path of totality you will still get to see a partial eclipse which means that you’ll see the moon take a bite out of the sun basically and it will get darker where you are,” Dr. Viall says.

This eclipse is the first coast to coast eclipse since 1918.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News

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