Answers to your last-minute questions about the Great American Eclipse


Just in case you haven't heard, there's a rare celestial event on the way!

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the continental US was about 40 years ago, on February 26, 1979.

Because of the Earth's rotation, the path of the eclipse isn't a straight line across the United States, and not everyone will have the same viewing experience.

The Moon's umbra shadow, commonly referred to as the "path of totality," will span 70 miles wide from OR to SC. It will begin at 9:06 a.m. PDT in Madras, Oregon, 10:15 a.m. MDT in Idaho Falls, 11:37 a.m. CDT in Lincoln, Nebraska, 11:46 a.m. CDT in Jefferson City, Missouri, 11:58 a.m. CDT in Nashville, and 1:13 p.m. EDT in Columbia, South Carolina. It's a simple project that only takes and few minutes, so it is flawless if you missed out on buying the sought-after eclipse viewing sunglasses. One Van Wert native, Erin Cox, recently moved to Corbin, Kentucky, where she will be within an hour and a half drive from 100 percent totality. Supply is dropping but you can still order them online from a few sellers and get them in time.

Kopp added that the risk of eye damage during an eclipse is reduced during the brief period when the sun is completely covered by the moon. The projection of the eclipse will then appear in as a crescent in the shadow. Sunglasses with tough-sounding names such as "Solar Shields" are not going to work.

That very bright light can actually do damage if you stare at the sun. But sunlight is still sunlight, and your eyes need to be protected.

The eclipse is a big deal near the path of totality, and even in Corbin where Cox noted all of the local schools plan to shut down for the day to ensure children can safely watch the eclipse from home.

The public is invited to experience a 90 percent solar eclipse outdoors, while also enjoying NASA's live coverage of the total solar eclipse via multi-site broadcasts. During a new phase, the moon isn't visible because the illuminated side of the moon faces away from the Earth. Those who live outside of the path will still be able to view a partial eclipse; the upstate NY area will experience an eclipse of 74 percent magnitude. If it were, there'd be a solar eclipse once every 29 ½ days.

As the Great American Eclipse approaches, we know you have many questions. The path of totality will first make landfall stateside at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT before continuing across the continental US through 12 states before reaching SC.

For a more immediate eclipse-related event, join us at the Moscow Library for a special family storytime the day of the eclipse. Because motorists will be traveling to the path of totality from hundreds of miles, many motorists may not be familiar with the roads, terrain and climate.

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