CLEMSON — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts Clemson is one of the U.S. cities most likely to enjoy clear weather during the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. It also should have the best viewing conditions in South Carolina, NOAA says.
The NOAA forecasts Clemson has a 75 percent chance of having viewable conditions on the day of the eclipse, which ranks in the top 10 cities in the eclipse path based on “viewability percentage.”
Clemson is ranked highest among South Carolina cities in the forecast: Charleston was given a 53 percent chance of viewable conditions while Columbia is at 44 percent.
The upcoming total solar eclipse has been dubbed “The Great American Eclipse” for a reason. It is the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse to span the United States since 1918. Even more remarkably, it is the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse to cross only American soil — or at least what would become American soil — in more than 750 years. (The 1918 eclipse hit the Bahamas, as well.)
The next coast-to-coast total solar eclipse that will touch only American soil won’t happen for another 300 years.
In other words, the Aug. 21, 2017, event is astoundingly rare. So being in a place where you’ll actually be able to see the moon completely cover the sun is a big deal.
The path of totality, which ranges about 60 to 71 miles in width, will pass through 14 states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina; and small portions of Montana and Iowa. Some estimates suggest that more than 100 million people will enter this narrow path to view the eclipse. At the very least, eclipse viewers will number in the tens of millions.
Clemson University is busy planning an event where thousands are expected to gather and view the spectacle together, complete with plenty of parking, open space, scientific experiments, expert demonstrations and vendors. Clemson will also be providing solar glasses to protect viewers’ eyes from the damaging rays of the sun.
The eclipse will begin here at 1:07 p.m. and end about three hours later at 4:02 p.m. The totality of the eclipse during which the moon will entirely cover the sun will begin around 2:37 p.m. and last less than three minutes. During this brief period, viewers will be able to remove their solar glasses and look directly at the eclipse without risk of physical harm. When the totality ends, viewers must put their glasses back on whenever staring directly at the sun.
For updates on Clemson’s eclipse viewing party, refer frequently to clemson.edu/eclipse.