Two years until darkness descends on Nashville during total solar eclipse
Nashville is the largest U.S. city to be covered by the moon’s shadow
NASHVILLE, Aug. 21, 2015—Where will you be when the sky goes dark at 1:27 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2017?
That’s the question on the minds of many in Nashville and across the United States as a total solar eclipse is set make an appearance right here in Middle Tennessee—the first time in more than 500 years.
The moon’s shadow will race across the entire country from Oregon to South Carolina. But Nashville is the largest city in the nation that will watch day turn to night as the sun is completely blotted out of the sky by the moon for about 2 minutes.
Adventure Science Center and local tourism officials are already making plans to welcome hundreds of thousands of global “eclipse chasers” to the area in 2017, as well as locals who want to know how to safely watch one of nature’s greatest phenomena.
“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we have a front-row seat here in Nashville,” said Jeff Krinks, Adventure Science Center’s director of marketing and communications. “Although 2017 seems far away, now is the time to mark it on your calendar and start making plans. You’ll always remember the day you stepped outside and witnessed this amazing celestial show.”
In the months leading up to the eclipse, the Science Center will launch a series of programs to explain why eclipses occur and how to view them safely. They will include hands-on demonstrations and a planetarium show. A large-scale event is also in the works, which would allow the public to experience the eclipse as a community.
Part of the Science Center’s efforts will be focused on safety, since watching a solar eclipse can be dangerous if observers don’t use proper eye protection.
“The only time it’s safe to look at a solar eclipse is when the sun is totally obscured by the moon,” Krinks said. “Even the slightest direct rays peeking out from the edge of a partial eclipse can cause eye damage. So you need to use a special solar filter or viewing technique until the one or two minutes of ‘totality,’ where the moon is completely blocking the sun. Regular sunglasses won’t do.”
Even though the eclipse is still two years away, Adventure Science Center is urging the public to make plans now, especially since it will occur on a Monday when many people will be at work or school.
“Whether you plan to go to a large open area or simply out in your back yard, take a moment to find where the sun is in the sky this time of year at approximately 1 p.m. and make sure there are no obstructions in the way.” Krinks said. “Then when Aug. 21, 2017, comes you’ll be ready.”
More information about the eclipse will be available on Adventure Science Center’s website at www.adventuresci.org/eclipse2017.
About the 2017 Solar Eclipse Locally, the eclipse will cut a 70-mile-wide swath through Southern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, with the centerline crossing near Hopkinsville, Gallatin and Sparta. Areas to the south and west of Nashville, such as Dickson, Franklin and Tullahoma, will only see a partial eclipse.
· First total solar eclipse on American soil since 1991 (Hawaii)
· First total solar eclipse on the U.S. mainland since 1979 (Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota)
· First total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire country in 99 years (1918)
· The last total solar eclipse visible in what is now Nashville was on July 29, 1478
About Solar Eclipses
A solar eclipse is caused by the moon passing between our planet and the sun, casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface that turns the daytime sky dark. During a total solar eclipse, observers see the sun’s disk whittled down to a crescent, then completely covered as the sky goes dark. “Totality” typically lasts only a few minutes but long enough to confuse some wildlife into thinking nighttime has come.
It is a scene of mysterious beauty, which was known to frighten early humans. Daytime becomes a deep twilight, and the sun’s corona shimmers in the darkened sky.
About Adventure Science Center
For nearly 70 years, Adventure Science Center has brought science to life for students, teachers and families in Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, Northern Alabama and beyond. The Center offers hands-on, interactive exhibits and engaging programs that encourage visitors of all ages to explore how science is relevant in their lives. Adventure Science Center encourages imagination and curiosity in a fun, dynamic learning environment. It is located at 800 Fort Negley Blvd. in Nashville. For more information, call (615) 862-5160 or visit www.adventuresci.org.