Local astronomy professors share eclipse tips – Spartanburg Herald Journal

Zach Fox Staff Writer @ZachFoxSHJ

Local astronomy professors say Spartanburg County residents should at least try to get to the southern part of the county on Aug. 21 to experience the full solar eclipse.

The eclipse path runs through Spartanburg County, but only the southern and southwestern portions of the county will see 100 percent totality that Monday afternoon. Events are scheduled across the Upstate, and state public safety officials are preparing for increased traffic on state roads.

Astronomy professors Andy Leonardi of the University of South Carolina Upstate and Bill Yarborough of Converse College said the eclipse will be a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

What else will be visible in the sky during the eclipse?

Leonardi:Not so much when youre looking up at the sun and the moon itself. The wispy corona that will appear during the eclipse will be pronounced. The little extra bit of light will make the sky look a little different.

Yarborough:What you can see is whats called the suns corona. Surrounding the sun is a very tenuous region thats far, far hotter than the surface. It doesnt emit enough light for us to normally see it. Its like a huge, bright halo. When the moon completely blocks the disk of the sun we normally see, the corona will light up the sky. Its an absolutely incredible view.As far as planets or things of that sort, it wont quite be like a dark night. Itll be like dusk or sunset. Not quite dark enough to see a lot of planets and things like that.

What does it mean that Spartanburg isn’t in the path of totality?

Yarborough:What that means for Spartanburg is, the sun will never be completely blocked. A little edge of sun will still be visible from behind the moon. Its still more than a 90 percent eclipse. At any point where the sun is even partially visible, its not safe for the naked eye.In that region, in totality, its safe to look at it without protection. You can briefly take (viewing glasses) off and look before you put them back on.

Is there any way, besides getting safety glasses, to prepare for the eclipse?

Leonardi:Even animals, youll start to hear nighttime animal sounds because they get fooled, too. Its so outside normal experience that you cant honestly prepare for it. Its not like when daytime turns to night, its much different than that.

What’s the best way to enjoy the eclipse itself?

Leonardi: You definitely want to give yourself time before the eclipse to see the approach. The eclipse itself lasts for a couple of minutes, but you want to see all the subtle changes first. If they can tear their eyes away for those two minutes, take a little time to glance at the horizon because youll see some weird, unique effects. Youll see sort of sunset effects all across the horizon. … I would just urge people to do it safely.

Yarborough: Probably the most important thing everyone knows is they need to protect their eyes. Looking up at the sun, even briefly, can do real damage to your eyes. Ordinary sunglasses simply will not protect their eyes from looking up at an eclipse.Its an exciting event, one everyone ought to see. For anybody whos interested, it (traveling to the area of totality) would be worth it. Once you get 10 miles or so south or southwest of Spartanburg, youll be in the edge of the total region. The difference will be noticeable. Anywhere in South Carolina will experience a partial eclipse, however, which is still a sight to see. It wont be something to forget.

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Local astronomy professors share eclipse tips – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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