In a little less than a month, Nashville will plunge into darkness in the middle of the day as a total solar eclipse sweeps across the city—the first one in more than 500 years!
While we’re counting down the days until the once-in-a-lifetime celestial event and Trevecca’s SolarFest celebration—complete with food trucks, live music, fun and science—we thought we’d provide some answers we know you’re asking about the Great American Eclipse.
When is this eclipse?
Monday, August 21
A partial eclipse will begin around 11:58 a.m., but the totality (when the moon will completely block the sun’s light) begins around 1:27 p.m. The totality will only for about two minutes. The partial eclipse will continue throughout the afternoon, ending right before 3 p.m.
What is a total solar eclipse anyway?
A total solar eclipse happens with the sun, moon and earth all line up, with the moon in the middle, blocking the sun’s light from reaching certain places on earth. Next week, one of Trevecca’s physics professors, Dr. Matthew Huddleston, will share more here on the blog!
Do I really need special glasses or a viewer to look at the sun?
Dr. Matthew Huddleston says yes! Especially in the 75 minutes before and after the totality when the sun is only partially eclipsed. “You should never try to view the sun without special glasses,” Huddleston said. “Viewing glasses are a must, unless you choose to make a viewing box.” Learn how here. Huddleston says that during the brief period of totality, it will be safe to look at the completely eclipsed sun without protection.
Why is this total eclipse such a big deal?
Well, it’s the first total eclipse visible from Nashville since 1478. It’s also the first total eclipse to sweep across the entire continental United States from coast-to-coast since 1918. The last time a total eclipse touched the continental U.S. was in 1979, while Hawaii experienced one in 1991. It suffices to say, it’s an event few Americans have experienced in their lifetimes. The next total solar eclipse visible from Nashville isn’t expected until August 2566.
Why are so many people coming to Nashville to see the eclipse?
First of all, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. But Nashville is also one of the largest cities entirely in the path of totality, meaning there will be more places to stay and things to do before, after and during the eclipse. You can learn more about the path of the eclipse here.