First total solar eclipse in nearly 40 years now just 6 months away

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It has been almost 40 years since the last total solar eclipse could be seen in the United States.

A map showing the path of the total solar eclipse (Michael Zeiler/Great American Eclipse)
CLICK FOR MORE MAPS OF THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE

Later this year, on Aug. 21, from South Carolina to Oregon, people will experience darkness in the middle of the afternoon. The total solar eclipse will occur in about a 100-mile wide corridor and last about 2½ minutes. The moon will pass directly between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking out the sun’s light. From beginning to end, including the partial phases, the eclipse will last close to three hours.

The only place in North Carolina that is along the total eclipse path is the extreme southwestern part of our state, including Murphy and Franklin. The time for totality in southwestern North Carolina will be between 2:35 p.m. and 2:40 p.m.

In central North Carolina, we will only experience a partial eclipse of the sun.  However, it will still a sight to behold, as over 90 percent of the sun will be blocked for those 2½ minutes. Near the Virginia border, about 91 percent of the sun will be blocked; and as you go to the southwest toward Moore County and the Sandhills, up to 96 percent of the sun will be blocked. The time for the maximum coverage in central North Carolina will be around 2:45pm.

In central North Carolina, the start of the eclipse will be around 1:18 p.m. with the end of the eclipse and full sun returning around 4:06 p.m. The sun will be about 59 degrees high in the sky during that time.

All this, of course, is weather-dependent, but even if there are clouds, it will still grow dark across the eclipse path.

Remember to never stare directly into the sun, even when the sun is being eclipsed. Eye damage can occur.  Use indirect viewing or use ISO approved eclipse shades and solar binoculars.

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