College of Charleston Eclipse Information
Where will the CofC astronomers be that day (August 21st)?
- The eclipse is occurring right in the middle of the day: the entire thing goes from 1:15-4:10pm. With the high influx of visitors and schools being out for the day, the roads in Charleston could be jammed. So rather than have the community come to us at some spot, we are going out into the community.
- The Department of Physics & Astronomy and Observatory at the College of Charleston, along with the Lowcountry Stargazers and Charleston Astronomy Meetup, have planned several locations around the Charleston Metro area to watch the eclipse on August 21st. The locations can be found on the below list and as the BLUE markers on the Google map https://tinyurl.com/CofCeclipselocations. Note that some have very limited space.
- All of these locations are open to the public and are free, with a possible parking fee. We'll have telescopes with safe solar filters, other safe methods to view the eclipse, limited numbers of eclipse glasses, and information about the Sun, Moon, and why eclipses occur. More locations will be added as we get closer to the eclipse date.
- The traffic is expected to be very bad that day; we are advising people to stay close to home if possible (more on how to choose an eclipse watching location below).
We will begin observing the Sun around 12:30pm and be there until the eclipse ends at each location.
Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center, 5821 Highway 17 North, Awendaw, SC 29429
Buck Hall Recreation Area, Buckhall Landing Rd., McClellanville, SC 29458
Park West Recreation Fields, 1251 Park West Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29466
Palmetto Islands County Park, 444 Needlerush Pkwy., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Joe Gawrych Baseball Complex, 1559 Rifle Range Rd., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Charlotte St. Park, 1 Charlotte St., Charleston, SC 29403
Rivers Green/Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun St., Charleston, SC 29401 (Only open to CofC students, faculty, & staff.)
Colonial Lake/Moultrie Playground, 41 Ashley Ave, Charleston, SC 29401
Melton Peter Demetre Park, 640 Wampler Dr., Charleston, SC 29412
St. Andrews Park and Playground, 1095 Playground Rd., Charleston, SC 29407
Old Santee Canal Park, 900 Stony Landing Rd., Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Duffy Baseball Complex, 615 Center St., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
theBend, 3775 Azalea Dr, North Charleston, SC 29405 - NO TELESCOPE!
Cooper River Memorial Library, 3503 Rivers Ave, Charleston, SC 29405
Hampton Park, Charleston, SC 29403
Goose Creek High School, 1137 Redbank Road, Goose Creek, SC 29445, Goose Creek, SC 29445
Martins Park, 155 Jackson St., Charleston, SC 29403 CANCELLED BY CITY OF CHARLESTON Timberland High School, 1418 Gravel Hill Rd., St. Stephen, SC 29479 CANCELLED BY BERKELEY COUNTY Goose Creek Library, 325 Old Moncks Corner Rd, Goose Creek, SC 29445 CANCELLED BY BERKELEY COUNTY
- Locations marked in GREEN are run by the SC Space Grant consortium for more information, contact Tara Scozarro at ScozzaroT@COFC.EDU
- PURPLE markers show public libraries that are hosting eclipse viewing events. These will not have eclipse experts, but will have information and activities.
- You can click on the box and see locations, marked in ORANGE, that are paid admittance events with some type of eclipse-knowledgable expert present. Contact the individual venues for more information on prices, times, and other details.
Where should I go to watch the eclipse? What time will it occur?
- Eclipses come in different types. The August 21st eclipse is the most special of the types: a total solar eclipse. That means that there are places on the Earth where the entire Sun will be covered by the Moon - we call this region totality and its a very small path, only 70 miles wide.
- The path of totality for the August 21st eclipse is shown on the below map as the darker region between the two red lines.
- Our advice is that everyone try their hardest to get inside totality. But if you are inside, then there's no place more special than another. Some places get a little bit longer dark period, but they are all great locales to enjoy the eclipse.
- So how to tell if your favorite place is inside totality? Go to the map at this link (
tinyurl.com/2017eclipse). Click on any place and it will tell you the specifics of the eclipse there. The times are in UT, so subtract 4 hours for Charleston time.
- Here's an example for the Battery in downtown Charleston; here the Sun will be covered for 1min 33.8 seconds. The Moon will begin to cover the Sun at 1:16:59.3 pm. Totality (darkness) will be from 2:46:26.7 pm to 2:47:56.9 pm. Then the Moon will completely uncover the Sun at 4:10:01.3pm. (The last set of numbers on these times are seconds; eclipse times can be predicted to high precision. )
- Here's another example for the southern end of Folly Beach; this is NOT in totality, the Sun will only be 99.983% covered. A total solar eclipse is probably the only time in your life when 99.983% is not basically the same as 100%.
- Do not be satisfied with 99.983%; find someplace else (nearby) that is inside totality. The difference is literally night and day. More on this below in "Why do I need to be inside Totality?"
- All of the places the CofC astronomers will be are in totality, but you don't have to come hang out with us. Anywhere will do. We've tried to pick locations near neighborhoods so that people with questions can walk or bike to us that day.
- There are many other eclipse viewing events that do not have an astronomer or other eclipse expert which we've put on the map below (tinyurl.com/charlestoneclipselocations). If you do decide to watch from somewhere besides your home, we encourage you to pick a place close by.
- Again we expect the traffic to be terrible. Wherever you are going to be that afternoon, get there early and stay.
How can I safely watch the eclipse?
- Safety is extremely important during a solar eclipse. The human eye is not made to look directly at the Sun. If you try to do this normally, it hurts and you quickly look away because of the pain. But when most of the Sun is covered by the Moon, we don't feel that pain response. However the Sun's light is still causing permanent damage to the cells in your retina/eye; you just don't feel it until the damage is already done.
- If any part of the Sun is uncovered, you must either filter the direct solar light (with eclipse glasses, etc.) or look at an indirect image of the Sun.
- More safety information can be found here https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety
- Sunglasses, no matter how dark or polarized, are not safe for direct solar viewing. You need glasses made specifically for looking at the Sun. These can be ordered from various online vendors, see below.
- Many organizations and businesses are also ordering them for their employees or guests the day of the eclipse - so check around before you buy some. They should be marked with either CE or ISO (or both) indicating they are safe to use in observing the Sun.
- You can also use welder's glass number 14. Be sure the glass is marked shade #14; this is darker than most commonly used welder's glass.
Indirect images of the Sun
- The classic pinhole viewers are the easiest ways to look at an indirect image of the Sun. This website set up by the University of Illinois has some easy ways to make pinhole viewers: http://eclipse.illinois.edu/pinhole.html
- Or if you want a bigger and brighter image of the Sun, Terry Richardson (one of our astronomers here at CofC) has come up with a DIY solar projector that can be made for less than $18.
- There's also a much easier and cheaper projector that can be made for less than $5.
- Complete instructions on how to make both are available here: http://richardsont.people.cofc.edu/safe_solar_folder/index.html
Why do I need to be inside Totality?
- This question is best answered by a video of a total solar eclipse. Below shows the start of a total solar eclipse in Libya in 2006. In the lower left corner, an image of the Sun at that moment is shown. The video begins with the Sun 99.9% covered; its still daylight out. But by 2:45, you can see what a total solar eclipse is.
- Total solar eclipses are rarer than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Don't miss it by a few miles. Get inside totality.
What if its raining or cloudy?
- Another question best answered by a video. If you are outside of totality, then rain and/or clouds will pretty much ruin the eclipse for you. But inside totality? Start watching at about 5:00.
After Party/ETV Watch Party of New NOVA Show
The CofC Observatory is also co-hosting a watch party of the brand new NOVA episode on the Great American Eclipse on the evening after the eclipse. Tickets are free but limited and you can RSVP at this website http://tinyurl.com/etveclipse2017. The event will be at
School of Sciences & Mathematics Auditorium
College of Charleston
202 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29424
- We are doing some outreach events prior to the eclipse, time permitting: partial list below. If you'd like to request a presentation for your group, please fill out the form here: https://goo.gl/forms/CM4tJAoYjnbpJaP12, and we will see if someone is available.
7/18 The Palms, Mt. Pleasant
7/25 Lowcountry Senior Center, James Island
8/1 Summerville Library, Summerville
8/3 Cooper River Memorial Library, North Charleston
8/12 Johns Island Regional Library
8/14 Daniel Island Library
8/19 Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center, Awendaw
- If you have any other questions, please email Dr. Laura Penny, Astronomy Outreach Coordinator, email@example.com.