On Monday, August 21 a total solar eclipse will darken the skies across the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina. It's the first eclipse that will be seen from coast to coast in 99 years. The “Path of Totality,” where the sun appears to be completely covered, will be about 70 miles wide. Outside the Path of Totality, many of us will see a partial solar eclipse with only a portion of the sun covered by the moon.
Here in Rochester and the Finger Lakes, we will see approximately 70% coverage of the sun. The partial eclipse will last about 2½ hours, beginning at 1:14 pm and ending at 3:52 pm. The maximum coverage will be at 2:35 pm.
Throughout the day on Monday, Classical 91.5 will have music to accompany eclipse-watching. Brenda, Marianne and Mona will have great music about the sun, the moon and the stars to help escort the eclipse across the skies, including Total Eclipse from GF Handel’s oratorio Samson, Carl Nielsen’s Helios Overture, Sunrise from Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite, Augusta Read Thomas’ Eclipse Musings, and The Planets by Gustav Hoslt.
If you aren’t able to be in the Path of Totality on Monday, NPR will have live coverage of the eclipse, beginning Monday at 10:00 am EDT. The live blog and video will be available on the WXXI News web site. And And NPR’s various programs, podcasts, and blogs are shining a light on the eclipse from many different angles including history, science and culture.
At 2:30 p.m., WXXINews.org will stream South Carolina Educational Television’s coverage of the longest total eclipse on the East coast from Columbia, S.C. where the total eclipse will start at 2:41 p.m.
Also on Monday, NASA will provide a wealth of images captured before, during, and after the eclipse by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, each offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event. Beginning at 1:00 pm EDT, the video will cover the path of totality the eclipse will take across the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. The video will available on the NASA web site.
Remember, never look directly at the sun during an eclipse, or any time. You can seriously damage your eyes, and even go blind. Always use eye protection such as eclipse glasses or a sun filter. Sunglasses will NOT protect your eyes!
If you cannot get eclipse glasses, it’s easy to make an eclipse projector. You only need two pieces of stiff white paper or cardboard. You can eve use two paper plates. You also need a thumbtack, a sharp pin, or a needle.
Take one sheet of paper and make a tiny hole in the middle of it with the pin, thumbtack or needle. Make sure that the hole is round and smooth. With your back towards the sun, hold the paper with the hole above your shoulder allowing the sun to shine on the paper. Hold the second sheet of paper in front of you, so that it acts as a screen. The image of the sun will be projected on the paper screen through the pinhole.
Also, there are some great eclipse music playlists online at NASA and New York Times. Beyond playlists, music festivals are also getting into the Solar Eclipse. Grammy.com has more information. If you miss it you’ll have another chance to see a solar eclipse on October 14, 2023, and April 8, 2024.
Happy eclipse watching!