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09 August . 2017

In the path of totality: Total Solar Eclipse at Nexton

Witnesses of previous total solar eclipses describe the celestial phenomena as wondrous, powerful, and even life-altering. In just over a week, we'll be experiencing the extraordinary occurrence right here at Nexton.

While partial eclipses are fairly common, total solar eclipses are much less so. A total solar eclipse has not been observed in mainland United States since 1979. In any given location, a totality occurs just once every 375 years. This year, the eclipse will cross the continent from Oregon to South Carolina, putting Summerville right in its path. We know this is going to be an astonishing, unforgettable experience, but what exactly should we expect? Some fascinating things to look forward to below.

In the sky

As the moon totally eclipses the sun, the corona becomes visible. Otherwise outshone by the sun’s powerful light, the corona will look like feathery tendrils emerging behind the moon. Occasional eruptions of plasma may rise from the sun’s surface, some capable of launching millions of miles in any direction. Red or green light may instantaneously burst into view, the result of iron atoms gaining and riding themselves of electrons at high temperatures. As we awe at the sun’s incredible display, scientists worldwide will be studying the demonstration, looking for clues in the patterns of the corona that indicate behavior of the sun’s magnetic field. From studying the wavelengths at which the tendrils radiate, they’ll be able to identify what elements may be present.

Stars will become visible in the middle of the day. You may be able to glimpse Mercury and Venus, which are otherwise difficult to see because of their proximity to the sun. Look for Jupiter and Saturn, too. The star Regulus in the constellation Leo will also be visible.

On the ground

During totality, which is predicted to last over two minutes in Summerville, the earth will grow dark as if at night. The temperature may drop as much as ten degrees. Animals will fall silent, preparing for bedtime. Some report seeing a “cone of darkness” moving across the landscape before and after totality. This is the shadow of the moon as it approaches and passes over the sun.

Shadows will become sharper than we’re used to, and a fascinating phenomenon known as “shadow bands” become visible. These streaks of light and dark on the ground appear in the seconds before totality. While they don’t currently have an explanation, some posit it has to do with earth’s atmosphere distorting light from distant objects. Whatever the cause, see them by looking at areas that are smooth, light, and uniform in color.

How we’re celebrating at Nexton

The Great Lawn at Brighton Park will play to host to this event of a lifetime. The first 100 guests will receive free viewing glasses. King of Pops will be on hand selling popsicles for everyone to enjoy. And if you want to soak in all the experience has to offer, from 1 pm – 2:15 pm we’re hosting a free inspirational yoga class. All experience levels are welcome. Bring a towel or mat for yoga, and a cozy seat for viewing the eclipse.

See you on August 21st. It’s going to be breathtaking.

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