What You Need to Know About the Total Solar Eclipse in Charleston

Charleston is the last place to view the first solar eclipse in close to four decades.

Charleston is in the path of totality, which means we’re some of the lucky ones who will see the moon totally block the sun as it passes between the orbit of the Earth and the sun. And that means we will experience twilight during the middle of the day. It will grow dark and cooler, and you’ll be able to see the sun’s corona, the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere. Those who have seen a total eclipse describe it in mystical terms. You will not want to miss this.

Depending on your viewing spot in Charleston, you could experience totality for 90 to 120 seconds beginning at about 2:45 pm. Check out the time at your coordinates on this interactive map by NASA.  But you’ll want to start looking up at the sky a little after 1 pm when the moon will first appear to take a bite out of the sun.

NASA’s headquarters for its national broadcast coverage of the eclipse will be at the College of Charleston. The broadcast will be streamed on NASA TV, the NASA website and public broadcasting stations beginning at 1 pm. Charleston will be the last place in the United States to see the total eclipse before the path goes over the Atlantic. 

WARNING: Do not look directly at the sun until the moon totally blocks it. If you haven’t already ordered your protective glasses, do it now. Experts expect a shortage. You can buy them at www.eclipse2017.org or www.greatamericaneclipse.com. You can look at the sun without glasses during the 90 to 120 seconds of totality.

You should not attempt to take photos without special filters on your camera. Even if you do have special filters, experienced eclipse viewers say it is nearly impossible for a camera to capture the spectacular show of light during the totality. Instead, they say to savor the moment with all your senses so you can remember it for the rest of your life. You can take pictures or video of how people around you are reacting so you’ll remember the emotion of the moment. 

Here are some of the places around Charleston that are playing host to eclipse watching events:

Baseball game in progress

Eclipse Baseball Game: Cheer on the arrival of the eclipse at Joseph P. Riley Park with special guests from NASA, who will be on hand to provide commentary. Stay at the ballpark for the first pitch at 4:05 pm as the RiverDogs take on the Augusta GreenJackets. The Joe opens at 1 pm. Protective sunglasses will be provided. 

Eclipse on a Warship: Watch Charleston Harbor go dark from the deck of the USS Yorktown in the Charleston Harbor. An astronomer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will explain the science of the eclipse, and children will be able to participate in astronomy-inspired activities. The first 3,000 visitors will receive protective glasses. The eclipse viewing is included with admission. 

Woman in art museum

Total Eclipse of the Art: Watch the eclipse from the Gibbes Museum of Art’s classical Lenhardt Garden behind the museum. Protective glasses will be provided. Also, enjoy two-for-one admission for adults to the museum.

Dark Side of the Sun at the Beach: Party at the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina with live music by the Dubplates, a moon bounce and more children’s activities. First 1,000 receive glasses. Advance tickets recommended. 1 to 5 pm.

The Gathering: A Solar Eclipse Party

Drink Specials: Two local breweries, Revelry and Tradesman, are brewing special eclipse beers and holding simultaneous watch parties. Start gathering at noon at Reverly’s Rooftop Bar and at Tradesman. 

Shelley Young
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