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The nation is abuzz about the upcoming Solar Eclipse and quite frankly, so are we! The last time the US experienced a Solar Eclipse was in 1979, so this is a big deal. While we aren’t in the path of totality we will still have an amazing chance to witness this natural phenomenon as a community. So, here’s the High Country 365 Guide to the 2017 Solar Eclipse.

What is it?

In short, a solar eclipse is when the moon crosses in front of the sun causing the view of the sun and its atmosphere, the corona, to disappear completely or partially. Boone NC is not in the path of totality so we will see a partial solar eclipse, meaning the sun will not disappear completely from our view but mostly. We will still see a sliver of the sun so it is important to be prepared with appropriate solar glasses. This natural occurrence offers a unique opportunity to experience the power and grandeur of our solar system in interactive ways. It also offers a unique opportunity to possibly view stars we don’t often easily view like, Mercury. Venus and Jupiter should also come into view while a few lucky people might be lucky enough to see a meteor shooting through the sky.

Want to know more about the Solar Eclipse:
Appalachian State University has created a few informative videos to get you started.

High Country Eclipse Times:

August 21, 2017

  • 12:00 p.m. – Get your stuff and get to your desired location
  • 1:10 p.m.  –  Ingress – 1st sight of Moon on solar disk
  •  2:36 p.m. –  Greatest partial eclipse ~ 95% coverage
  • 4:01 p.m.  –  Egress – Moon completely leaves solar disk –
  • 4:30 p.m. –  Head home and consider the amazing thing you just witnessed

Places to View:

  • Watauga County Library: Pick up your solar glasses at the youth desk while they last, and meet them on the front lawn. Bring a lawn chair and hope for clear skies. They will be making galaxy slime and will have other crafts for the kids.
  • “Scopes on the Mall”: – ASU – Sanford Mall -telescopes on the Mall and a life size Planetarium from 1 pm- 4 pm
  • ASU Grandfather Ballroom, Plemmons Student Union: Live streaming of the eclipse from a location of totality
  • Watauga County Schools: Watauga County Schools have extended the school day an additional 15 minutes and are inviting parents to join students to watch the eclipse. Some teachers, like Kim Dunigan at Bethel Elementary, are planning to make pin hole viewers and take data for NASA about temp. changes and precipitation. Blowing Rock Elementary has a school-wide education day planned. Exciting 1st day of school!
  • GrandFather Mountain: Grandfather Mountain is hosting a viewing party with crafts for kids, eclipse themed snacks and more. Guests are invited to view the eclipse from the swinging bridge or along the rocks at the top of the mountain for a once in a once in a lifetime experience.
  • Your Favorite Spot: We live in the mountains – you’re sure to find a spot with an amazing backdrop within a 5-minute drive of wherever you are, but here’s some inspiration:  Thunder Hill, Lump HIll, Rough Ridge, Caldwell Community College Boone Campus (breathtaking views), Your yard. etc. etc.
  • Stuck in the office: You can view a live stream of the event here, thanks to ASU!

Be Prepared!

Solar Eclipse Check-List

View of the sun –
Find a good spot and bring a chair or blanket because it may take a while. Make sure you are away from the distortion of city lights that come on automatically when it gets dark.

Eclipse Glasses or Pinhole Viewer –
Make sure you protect those big, beautiful eyes! You only get one set! Only use glasses from a trusted brand and vendor. Be careful not to get a fake pair in order to avoid serious injury! Don’t have glasses? There are other options!

Sweat Shirt –
The temperature is supposed to drop at least 10 degrees. (Much better than a 40-degree temperature drop recorded in PA in the 1800s!)

White poster board to view Shadow Bands –
According to NASA, “Shadow bands are thin, wavy lines of alternating light and dark that can be seen moving and undulating in parallel on plain-colored surfaces immediately before and after a total solar eclipse.” They don’t happen with every eclipse but is you want to try to view them you will want some white paper or poster board in order to get a glimpse of this subtle phenomenon.

Treats –
Thanks to Tina Cecil, on of our FB followers, we now have a comprehensive list of must-have eclipse snacks: Eclipse Gum, Moon Pies, Sunmaid Raisins, Sunchips, Sunny D, Capri Sun…or Sunkist Oranges!

Safety Guidelines

Here is an interesting article that our FB users enjoyed and shared.
PLEASE ALSO REVIEW a list of Safety Precautions provided by ASU:
Proper Use and Safety Precautions:
1. Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection (for proper eye protection, use glasses with a transmission of ISO 12312-2).
2. Place solar glasses in front of your eyes before looking at the Sun and look away before removing glasses.

3. Inspect lenses before each use – if lens is scratched or punctured discard glasses, they are no longer safe.

4. Do not use/look at the Sun for longer than 3 minutes continuously (take breaks).

5. Do not use binoculars with the solar glasses as the light the binoculars focus can damage your eye, even with the glasses. Do not drive while wearing these glasses.

6. Do not use with diseased eyes or after eye surgery.

7. Discard and do not use after three years.

The College of Arts and Sciences will provide solar viewing glasses for events on campus the day of the eclipse.

If you get a good photo of people watching, a sunset view or something better, send it to us and we will share with our followers and give you credit. We will also give the chosen photo a free Dining Card worth $45!

Thanks to Accu Weather for offering some little-known tips about what we might experience with a Solar Eclipse! Thanks to NASA and Appalachian State University for your amazing efforts to educate the public about this fantastic event!

On Oct. 24, 2014, Todd Bush snapped a series of shots from Sugar Mountain of the “partial solar eclipse” at the High Country Press reported about. We thought it might offer a sneak peek of what you might experience as well. 

Image Credit: Rick Fienberg, TravelQuest International and Wilderness Travel
Figure 1- In this series of still from 2013, the eclipse sequence runs from right to left. The center image shows totality; on either side are the 2nd contact (right) and 3rd contact (left diamond rings that mark the beginning and end of totality respectively).

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