Solar eclipse should be viewable this afternoon in this area

GALION — Today is the solar eclipse. You’ve probably read or listened to a little about it in the past few days. Every newscast across the nation seems to be leading with the story.

The weather in Ohio is unpredictable, but this morning, local news stations in Columbus were optimistic about chances to view the eclipse in Ohio. There will be some clouds in the area, but showers are more possible later this evening. After some spotty rain this morning, some clearing is expected this afternoon.

Here is some interesting information about the eclipse courtesy of the website

First Total Solar Eclipse in 38 Years for those in contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). The last time anyone in mainland US saw a total eclipse of the Sun was on February 26, 1979. If you live in the US and miss this event, you’ll have to wait 7 more years, until April 8, 2024, to see a total solar eclipse from a location in the contiguous United States.

Most North Americans Will Be Able To See Totality … if they are willing to drive that is. The total eclipse will only be visible along the Moon’s central shadow, which at its widest will be about 115 kilometers (71.5 miles), according to some sources. Its path will span from the country’s West Coast to the East Coast. The rest of North America, as well as Central America and northern parts of South America, will experience a partial solar eclipse. NASA has estimated that a majority of the American population lives less than a 2-day drive away from the path of totality.

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Event. While total solar eclipses are not rare—they occur twice every 3 years on average and can be seen from some part of the Earth—a total eclipse of the Sun that can be seen from the American West Coast to the American East Coast occurs less frequently. In fact, the last time a total solar eclipse was visible from coast to coast was almost 100 years ago, on June 8, 1918.

What makes this eclipse extra special is that it is the first time since the total solar eclipse of January 11, 1880 that a total solar eclipse will occur exclusively over the continental United States—no other country will see totality, though many countries will see a partial eclipse of the Sun.

Because of these reasons, the eclipse is also being called the Great American Eclipse.

Parts of 14 American States Will Go Dark for the 2 minutes of totality. The Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon will be the first location on continental US soil to see totality. The partial phase of the eclipse will begin here at 9:04 am local time. Lincoln City, Oregon will also be one of the first locations in the country to experience totality.

Oregonians will also be the first to see totality as the Moon’s shadow moves east at an average speed of about 3600 km/h (2237 mph). After Oregon, the eclipse will move through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. Montana and Iowa are the only states where the path of totality will pass through unpopulated areas. People in Charleston, South Carolina will be some of the last people in the US to see totality.

Totality Will Be Spectacular: Totality in a solar eclipse begins and ends with a diamond ring. If you are lucky enough to be in the path of totality, you are in for an astronomical treat, weather permitting, of course.

When the eclipse begins, at first contact, it will appear as if the Moon is taking a bite out of the Sun. As the eclipse progresses, the sky will get darker, the temperature will drop, and if you pay attention, animals and birds will become quieter.

At second contact, which is when totality begins, Baily’s Beads become visible. As the Moon completely covers the Sun’s surface, the diamond ring can be seen. You might also see pink spots called prominences near the diamond. These spots are caused by gases on the Sun’s surface.

Totality is the only time when one can see the corona, the Sun’s atmosphere.

At third contact, Baily’s Beads will once again become visible and a second diamond ring may appear.

Stars During the Daytime: As the sky turns dark, planets and stars hidden in the sky by the Sun’s bright light will reappear. Look for Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus during totality.

You Will Need Eye Protection: Do not look directly at the Sun, before, during or after the eclipse without any protective eyewear. Looking at the Sun with your naked eyes is highly dangerous and can even cause blindness. The safest way to see a solar eclipse is to wear protective eclipse glasses or use a pinhole projector you can easily make yourself.

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Graphic courtesy courtesy

By Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

Don’t lose focus if you are driving during today’s solar eclipse

COLUMBUS — If you are out and about today, and the eclipse happens while you are in a vehicle, here are some tips from the Ohio AAA to make your life more safe as well as the lives of others driving with you and and year you.

DO NOT attempt to watch the solar eclipse while driving! Eagerness to view the eclipse is not an acceptable reason to drive aggressively or distracted. The better option is to find a safe place to park, and then observe the eclipse.

DO NOT wear eclipse glasses while driving

DO NOT try to photograph the eclipse while driving.

Drive with your headlights on. Not only will you will be much more visible to other drivers, your forward vision will be improved.

Watch out for pedestrians! There may be many people standing in or along the roadway watching the eclipse.

Be alert to the possibility of distracted drivers swerving into your lane. Other drivers may be attempting to watch the eclipse and drive at the same time. To help prevent trouble, keep additional space between you and other vehicles and reduce your speed so you will have more time to make an emergency maneuver if needed.

In Columbus, the eclipse will begin at 1:04 p.m., will peak at 2:30 p.m. and will end at 3:52 p.m.