Solar Eclipse 101: Everything you need to know before the big day

August 8, 2017

Eclipse 2017 - NASA link 

For months, news streams across the country have been filled with commentary about The Great American Solar Eclipse that will cross over 14 states in August. And for good reason. The natural phenomenon is rare in and of itself, requiring perfect alignment of the earth, moon and sun, and, according to scientists, often occurs over water sources or other locations uninhabited by humans. This occurrence is particularly rare since it is the first to cover the continental U.S. in 99 years, and the first to stay completely in the U.S. since 1776. Its path of totality will stretch 70 miles wide and ripple through the skies from, you guessed it, Oregon to South Carolina.

For us in Haywood County, that means we are right in the path of this total solar eclipse. Especially in the western part of the county nearing Balsam. On Monday, August 21, from Waynesville at 1:07 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. we will witness the partial solar eclipse from beginning to end, with the maximum eclipse happening around 2:37 p.m.

Other locations in Haywood County:

  • Canton : partial eclipse from 1:07 p.m. to 4:01 p.m. with the maximum eclipse happening at 2:37 p.m. 
  • Balsam at Haywood County/Jackson County line : partial eclipse from 1:07 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with total eclipse starting at 2:36 p.m. lasting for approximately 10.9 seconds 
  • Clyde : partial eclipse from 1:07 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with the maximum eclipse happening around 2:37 p.m. 

Locations and times for a total eclipse viewings near Haywood:

  • Sylva will experience totality at 2:36 p.m. and lasting for approximately one minute, 44 seconds https://www.discoverjacksonnc.com/ 
  • Franklin will experience totality at 2:36 p.m. and lasting for approximately two minutes, 30 seconds 
  • Bryson City will experience totality at 2:36 p.m. and lasting for approximately one minute, 57 seconds.

Before The Great American Solar Eclipse leaves its mark on history, there are several things we all need to know.

Protect your eyes. According to experts at NASA, special solar filters are required to protect your eyes from the harmful rays. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses are not strong enough to look directly at the sun. Doing so can cause permanent damage or blindness to your eyes. And for those of you hoping to steal some images of the spectacular sight, be sure to take the right precautions. A special solar filter (in addition to your protective eyewear) is needed to protect your camera and your eyes. Learn more safety tips from NASA here.

Make sure you're getting reputable glasses. To ensure the glasses are safe, people should examine them to see if the filters on the glasses were manufactured by a reputable vendor that has achieved ISO certification and with which the scientific community has prior and positive experience. The American Astronomical Society keeps a list of reputable vendors at the website https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters, and members of the public should examine their glasses to see if the company named on the glasses is included on that list. 

Plan for more people. Approximately 200 million people live within a day’s drive of the path of the total eclipse. That means we will likely see an influx of people. It also means you should plan for extra travel time and pack some extra patience.

Pack some water. If you’re planning to attend an eclipse viewing party in town, watch from an area park or just witness it in your own backyard, make sure you stay hydrated. It’s the middle of August, and it will be hot!

Protect your skin. Whether it’s a partial, total or non-eclipse, protecting your skin against the harmful rays of the sun is always smart. Make sure you use sunscreen and reapply regularly, or cover your skin with clothing, if you plan to be outside for long periods.


For more information about The Great American Solar Eclipse, or to find viewing times near you, visit:  https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html.