Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Awe-Inspiring Spectacle in Upstate South Carolina

For the first time in 47 years, South Carolina will experience a once-in-lifetime total solar eclipse!  On August 21, 2017, Anderson Jockey Lot will host a viewing of the event as a free public service.  Astrophysicist and veteran total solar eclipse observer, Rick Boozer will provide expert running commentary as the eclipse progresses -- beginning with the more than hour long partial phases and then ending with the short (but spectacular) period of totality.
Assuming clear skies, the Anderson Jockey Lot on U.S. Highway 29 will be the best viewing location of the totality climax along the I-85 corridor with longest totality time in this area of 2 minutes and 40 seconds according to the U.S. Naval Observatory's Solar Eclipse Computer.  Totality for the City of Greenville will be 2 minutes and 10 seconds – fully 30 seconds less.  Spartanburg, at most, will only have several seconds.
Why will the Jockey Lot experience a longer totality than any place else along U.S. Hwy 29?  It is because the very center of the Moon's shadow will pass over that location.  Thus, anything farther north or south of the Jockey Lot along U.S. 29 will experience a shorter totality time.  For instance, even though Green Pond is only a few miles south of U.S. 29 away from the Jockey Lot, totality there will be 8 seconds shorter.
When observing an eclipse’s partial phases, it is important to understand that eye damage can occur if viewed with the unprotected eye.  Normal sunglasses do not filter many harmful solar rays that can injure your eyes during the partial phases.  For the public’s safety, special eclipse sunglasses will be available at the event (while supplies last).  The special glasses will not be needed during totality.
Everyone is welcome to view the eclipse at the Anderson Jockey Lot.  We will attempt to shoot video of the eclipse and, if successful, the footage will be accessible online.
Partial eclipse phases begin at 1:09 PM EDT.  Totality will start at 52 seconds after 2:37 PM EDT and will end at 32 seconds after 2:40 PM.  Late partial phases end at 4:09 PM EDT.
Of course, if the sky is cloudy, the total eclipse will not be seen.  Let’s all cross our fingers for clear skies!
Our thanks to Anderson Jockey Lot owner, Mac McClellion for allowing this public event on his premises.  Special accommodations for campers will be available as described here:
For information contact Rick Boozer by email at
The next total solar eclipse in South Carolina won’t happen for another 60 years, so don’t miss the eclipse this August if you can help it!
--- Photo of total solar eclipse by Koen van Gorp and used here with his permission ---

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