8 Solar Eclipse Facts You Need to Know
Surely by now, you’ve heard there’s a total eclipse next week, August 21. And even though technically, Franklin, Tennessee will only experience a partial view of it, our friend and neighbor to the north, Nashville is right smack dab in the middle of totality (as the really smart people say.)
Nonetheless, all of middle Tennessee is preparing to show off our good ole’ southern hospitality to those flocking to the area to witness this once-in-a-lifetime scientific marvel.
As you can see from the photo below, the Visit Franklin team is excited and ready to go!
But just to be safe (and have a little bit of fun) here are eight solar eclipse facts you need to know.
Here we go!
1. Don’t wear your eclipse glasses while driving. They’re impossible to see out of (I’m not kidding, this has been a frequent topic of debate!) However, when not driving they will make you look cool. Again, just look at us above. We’re cool!
2. This eclipse will be the most-viewed ever. You’ve probably heard this or read this somewhere online, but it’s true largely because of the media attention, the weather and the number of the major cities along the path of totality.
3. No the sun and the moon are not the same sizes, they just look like it in an eclipse. The sun is actually a lot bigger. Like 400 times larger. However, because it’s roughly 400 times farther away from the earth than the moon, it creates the illusion that they’re the same size. Cool, huh?
4. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the U.S. in 38 years. The last one took place on February 26, 1979, but not many people saw it because it clipped only five states in the Northwest and the weather wasn’t very clear. The internet says before that you’d have to go back to March 7, 1970.
5. Any star gazers out there? Hope so because Sirius, the Dog Star, will be visible on Monday to the southwest of the sun. Fun fact, Sirius is the second brightest star in our sky after the sun. I, of course, didn’t know that until the internet told me but now I feel super smart.
6. Here’s another fun fact. Both Mars and Jupiter will be making a special appearance come Monday. They will seem to be close to the sun when in reality they are on far opposite sides of their orbits. If you’re accustomed to using a telescope when looking at planets, have no worries, because four of the five planets that don’t require a telescope will be visible during next week’s eclipse. Now that will be pretty cool!
7. Did you know there are four state capitals in the path of next week’s eclipse? Salem, Oregon, Jefferson City, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina are all right smack in the middle of the path of the Eclipse reinforcing fact No. 2 above. (Here’s a fun map to look at to follow the entire path.)
8. And finally, don’t think you can use your cell phone camera to snap and post that perfect Instagram photo either. Experts say you’ll need some sort of solar filter or else you run the risk of frying the sensor in your phone.
So there you have it! Get your Eclipse glasses ready (which we’re selling at the Visitor Center this weekend btw) and enjoy this once and a lifetime Total Solar Eclipse!