Solar Eclipse Coming Monday

Next Monday afternoon, Aug. 21, a solar eclipse will briefly darken Crothersville and southern Indiana. While parts of southern Kentucky are in the path of a total eclipse, the local areas should experience about a 93-95% eclipse for less than three minutes sometime just before 2:30 p.m.

What is a solar eclipse? The eclipse occurs when the earth’s moon passes in front of the sun and the moon blocks some (partial eclipse) or all (total eclipse) of the sun’s light and casts a shadow on earth.

The sun is a very large, nearby star about 866,000 miles in diameter and 93 millions miles from earth, according to the Indiana University Astronomy Department. The moon, on the other hand, is much smaller, about 240,000 miles in diameter. That’s why the path, or the shadow, of the eclipse is smaller and larger in some parts. As the Earth spins, only certain sections of the US and world can see the eclipse at it’s total shadow, or it’s partial shadow.

While the size of the illuminating and shadow producing celestial bodies are large, the full or partial eclipse is relatively brief, lasting only about 2 minutes 40 seconds as the earth spins on its axis.

Ophthalmologists warn not to look at the eclipse without special glasses, the equivalent of the darkened lens of welder’s glasses. Regular sunglasses are not adequate. Permanent scarring of the retina can result by not using appropriate eye protection.

•Total solar eclipses for a particular location are very rare, occurring on average once every 375 years.

•Everyone in the continental United States will see the eclipse

•The last eclipse in the United State was in 1979.

•The next solar eclipse seen in America will be in 2045.

•Last coast-to-coast eclipse was in 1918. This will be the first coast-to-coast eclipse after the creation of the interstate highway system

INDOT is warning of traffic congestion on the southbound interstates as motorists travel to areas in Kentucky and Tennessee to view the total eclipse. At the conclusion of the event motorists should expect “evacuation like” traffic returning north following the event, according to the INDOT release.

The total solar eclipse begins near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 1:15 p.m. EDT. Totality ends at 2:48 p.m. EDT near Charleston, South Carolina. The partial eclipse will start earlier and end later, but the total eclipse itself will take about one hour and 40 minutes to cross the country.

The Jackson County Public Library will hold an eclipse viewing event at Seymour, Crothersville, and Medora libraries for this historic event next Monday.

1 p.m. – Eclipse begins on the west coast

2:26 p.m. – Maximum Totality – 93.8%

The library will provide eclipse glasses for the viewing for the participants, while supplies last. Participants will need to provide their own lawn chairs.

The library program is free and open to all ages. Remember never to view the sun without protective eyewear. Regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes from looking directly at the sun.