CSRA (WFXG) - On August 21, 2017 the CSRA will see something so rare: the Total Solar Eclipse. This is rare, happening once in individual's lifetimes. Meteorologists Jay Jefferies and Brooke Laizer visited Ruth Patrick Science Education Center to conduct an interview in Doctor Gary J. Senn's office.
Total Solar Eclipses are a rarity. This is because the moon, on average, does not pass in between the Sun and the Earth. During Total Solar Eclipses, the moon covers the sun's inner atmosphere but uncovers the sun's outer atmosphere at 100 percent totality. Doctor Senn explains:
"What happens at 100% is the sun is totally covered by the moon, and we get to see something called the corona. And people don't get to see the corona unless they can block out the disk of the sun. Even with that 1% of sunlight coming through around the edge of the moon, you will not be able to see the corona."
During totality, the moon's shadow of darkness will be beautifully lit inside in rings. Just before totality, the moon's shadow of darkness will move toward observers, along a landscape. Just after totality, the moon's shadow of darkness will move away.
This is only visible during total solar eclipses, rather than partial solar eclipses. According to Doctor Senn, you must stand along a certain path to see it.
"So that's one thing people need to keep in mind is to be sure they get to a place where there will be a total solar eclipse. So in Augusta, in most of Aiken County, we'll be at 99 percent. Now people think 'Hey, ninety nine percent, that's pretty good. When I was in school, if I got a 99% on a test, I felt really good about that. Do not feel good about it with an eclipse. Close is not close enough with an eclipse."
He also promises this is going to result in cooler temperatures as a result of less sunlight.
"It will be noticeably cooler. Just like if you're outside on a summer day and a cloud goes over, it gets cooler. When that cloud goes away, and the sun's direct over you again, it gets hotter again. That same experience will be felt during an eclipse."
An estimated half a million to two million people will travel to South Carolina for a spot along the Path of Totality next month.