RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — We are now just two months away from the first solar eclipse visible in the United States.
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.
NASA said those standing in the path of totality will see stars and planets become visible in what is normally a sunlit sky.
The only location in North Carolina along the total eclipse path is the extreme southwestern part of the 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 2:45 p.m.
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.
NASA said an eclipse as an opportunity to see the sun’s outer atmosphere in a way that cannot be done with other instruments.
“Scientists believe this region of the sun is the main driver for the sun’s constant outpouring of radiation, known as the solar wind, as well as powerful bursts of solar material that can be harmful to our satellites, orbiting astronauts and power grids on the ground.”
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.