By David Meade – Williamston is directly in the center of the path of a rare solar eclipse that will take place on Aug. 21, 2017 and will see one of the longest viewing times of the total eclipse of any town in the state and country.
The town, and surrounding area including Piedmont, Pelzer and West Pelzer is perfectly positioned for people to observe and record the historic event.
The eclipse will be the first total eclipse in the U.S. since 1979 – and the first one to travel coast-to-coast in almost 100 years.
“The last time a total solar eclipse crossed the U.S. coast to coast was in June 1918,” said Dr. Rick Fienberg, press officer with the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Washington, D.C. “But unlike that one, which was witnessed by relatively few people, this one will likely be the most-viewed solar eclipse in history.”
People will fly and drive thousands of miles to view the eclipse in the path that will travel across the country from Oregon to South Carolina.
The AAS estimates that more than 10 million people are in the 65-mile-wide path of the total eclipse – and more than 500 million in the U.S., Canada and Mexico will have an opportunity to see at least a partial eclipse.
Based on AAS data and charts, the total eclipse will touch over land at approximately 10:15 a.m. just north of Newport, Ore., and will travel across the country, then 251 miles across South Carolina ending its land sweep around 2:50 p.m. in McClellanville, S.C.
During the eclipse, the shadow of the Moon will hurtle across the United States at supersonic speeds (2,400 mph), and cross more than 2,400 miles in about 90 minutes.
During that time, it will cross a total of 14 states including Idaho, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and parts of South Carolina.
In Williamston the partial phase of the eclipse will occur at 1:09:15 pm and total eclipse will start at 2:37:59 pm. Observers in Williamston will see approximately 2 minutes and 36 seconds of total eclipse..
Pelzer and West Pelzer will see 2 minutes 35 seconds, while in Piedmont they will see 2m 32s. In McClellanville, observers will only see 2m 33s. Other places in the country may see up to 2m 38s.
Additional information about specific towns can be found online at: http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/communities/states/SC/
According to Greg Cornwell, Planetarium & Public Program Specialist at the Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, South Carolina can expect 1,000,000 people driving and flying in to see the eclipse. They will come from across the country and the world.
Roper Mountain Science Center has information on the eclipse and other special events and programs on their websiteat: https://www.ropermountain.org/main.asp?titleid=eclipse2017
Weird things to watch for include silver colors, the sudden vanishing of breezes, the rapid onset of darkness as the Moon’s umbral (inner) shadow arrives, false twilight and narrow shadows.
This eclipse will cross only the U.S. and no other country.