FIRST ALERT: One month and counting until the Great American Ecl - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

FIRST ALERT: One month and counting until the Great American Eclipse

Percentage of sun blocked by the moon in our area. Percentage of sun blocked by the moon in our area.
Eclipse in Myrtle Beach Eclipse in Myrtle Beach
Total Eclipse with corona visible Total Eclipse with corona visible
Eclipse in Florence Eclipse in Florence

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Friday marks just one month until a total solar eclipse occurs across the United States and crosses directly through South Carolina. 

Aug. 21, 2017 will bring what is being called the "Great American Eclipse," which will cross the United States from Newport, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.

For South Carolina, the center of the path of the eclipse will pass near Greenville, Columbia and then McClellanville. All of the state will see a partial solar eclipse. 

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, causing the moon to temporarily cast its shadow on the Earth. Total solar eclipses are only visible in areas located in the exact path of the moon’s shadow as it crosses the Earth.  

That shadow will cross directly through S.C. on Aug. 21, between 2:30 and 3 p.m. A partial solar eclipse happens where just a portion of the sun is covered by the moon.

The last time a total eclipse cut across the entire U.S. was back in 1918.

In Myrtle Beach, 99.42 percent of the sun will be obscured by the moon. The eclipse will start at 1:18 p.m., peak at 2:47 p.m. and end at 4:09 p.m.

In Florence: 99.2 percent of the sun will be obscured.  The eclipse starts at 1:15 p.m., reaches a max at 2:45 p.m. and ends at 4:07 p.m.

The only areas seeing the total eclipse lie across Georgetown and Williamsburg counties southward through Charleston. 

See an interactive map showing the exact path of the eclipse over our area here.

WHAT DOES THE PARTIAL ECLIPSE LOOK LIKE?

A partial eclipse will encompass the entire region on Monday, August 21st.  96 to 99% of the sun will be blocked out by the moon from Lumberton, to the Grand Strand and the Pee Dee. 

What will the eclipse look like in most of the area with 96 to 99 percent of the sun obscured? 

At 94 to 99 percent, the sky will take on a very strange dark blue and purple hue. Objects on the ground will take on a dull, grayed hue as the sun’s light is diminished.  Shadows will become very dark and very sharp as the limited sun light is focused like an adjustable flash light.  If skies are completely clear, the planet Venus will become visible.   Temperatures may drop a few degrees.  Despite being 99 percent covered, it will still be dangerous to look directly at the sun. 

Sounds cool right?  Well it’s a whole different world for those in the zone of totality.

So what’s the difference between a 99 percent eclipse and a total eclipse?  The sun’s light will still be 10,000 times brighter at 99 percent than with a total eclipse, which makes all the difference in the world.

WHAT DOES A TOTAL ECLIPSE LOOK LIKE?

The southern half of Georgetown County and Williamsburg County, including Andrews, Georgetown and Kingstree will see the total solar eclipse.  So what will happen in places like Georgetown that will experience the totality? 

At 99 percent, the nearly ink black shadow from the moon will appear to reach from the sun to ground.  This shadow will be moving across the U.S. faster than the speed of sound and quickly grow larger as totality nears. Just before totality, what’s know as the diamond ring will appear on the sun. This is the last fraction of light still visible behind the moon.

Just before totality is what is known as  “Bailey’s Beads.” This happens as the bright sunlight pours through the valleys of mountains on the moon, which is visible as a broken ring of sunlight. These beads will twinkle and sparkle, and create amazing shadows that quickly move across the earth. It’s often compared to the effect of light reflecting off of moving water.

And then totality.  The sun will appear as a black hole in the sky and is visible with the naked eye only at this point.  A ring of dancing light will surround the black disc of the sun.  This is called the Corona, and is the great solar storms on the sun

How dark is it now?  Imagine a clear night with a full moon. This will be the same level of darkness experienced during totality. The sky will take on a navy blue or even purple tint around the sun.  The area of totality is small, only around 70 miles. As a result, during the total eclipse, a vibrant 360 degree sunset will be visible along the horizon. Temperatures will drop by 10 to 15 degrees as all of the sun’s energy is blocked.   Animals will be tricked into returning to roost as they think it’s night.  Winds often go calm.  All of this combines for a bizarre and strange experience in the middle of the day.

The length of the total eclipse is brief.  In Pawleys Island, the period of totality is just under one minute.  Georgetown will experience the total eclipse for nearly a minute and a half. Areas near McClellanville and Charleston will see the totality lasting over two minutes. 

While the entire area will see the partial eclipse.  It is highly recommended that you travel into the area of totality to get the full experience.  Viewers of the total eclipse often describe it as humbling and awe inspiring.  WMBF News will continue to provide you with all the information on the Solar Eclipse in the days to come. 

Check out a cool interactive tool that simulates what the eclipse will look like from your location here.

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