At 2:36:44 p.m. on Aug. 21, the sun will darken over Transylvania County, and the sky will become like night. At that time, Transylvania County and other parts of the region will experience a total solar eclipse, where the moon will interrupt the sun and the earth for a few minutes.
This brief plunge into daytime darkness is expected to draw huge numbers to the area, and the county is planning several events to celebrate.
The eclipse will cast a 65-mile wide shadow. Its path, called the path of totality, will cross the United States at about 15,000 miles per hour, traveling through 14 states, from Lincoln, Ore., to Charleston, S.C.
This will be the first total solar eclipse over the United States since February 26, 1979, and the next one won’t occur until April 8, 2024.
The 200-acre campus of Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in Rosman will host a festival for the event, complete with everything from NASA scientists to food trucks.
There will be shuttle buses providing transportation up and down N.C. 215. NASA will be visiting the institute (which was initially established by NASA in 1962), along with university researchers, amateur astronomers, and the NC Space Grant, a collaborative effort of academic institutions who promote space-related science in N.C. Scientists with the NASA AEROKATS program, a team from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center that designs remote sensing platforms for environmental research, will be using store-bought kites with embedded sensors to study the change in temperature during the eclipse.
The eclipse will only last a few minutes, but local officials are planning events for days leading up to the eclipse.
There will be many places to celebrate and experience the eclipse, including Gorges State Park, where there will be hiking, music, food, informed discussions on the eclipse and viewing areas.
Skyterra Wellness Retreat in Lake Toxaway will also have a weekend of events, including yoga retreats leading up to the eclipse.
Brevard College will open itself up as a viewing area, as well as Oskar Blues Brewery.
The Brevard Music Center will be opening the weekend at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, with a special performance from Grammy-award winning performer Lyle Lovette.
Viewing the eclipse directly can damage the eyes and even cause blindness. When the moon eclipses the sun, the eyes adjust to the dark, but, according to NASA, when the sun comes back out from behind the moon, the sudden flood of light can damage the tissue of the retina. One must have special viewing glasses to view the eclipse, as well as a solar filter for camera equipment.
To learn more about the eclipse event at PARI or advance eclipse training through PARI, contact Sarah Chappell at (828) 862-5554 or via email at email@example.com.