Our First and Final Thoughts on the Eclipse

From:  City of  Biloxi   8/21/17   GCN

OK, everyone in the United States has heard about the eclipse this afternoon. You know, the one you're not supposed to look at unless you have the hard-to-find NASA-approved goggles.

Herewith, what Biloxians need to know:

"We do not expect total darkness here in Biloxi because we're not in what they're calling 'the path of totality,'" said Police Chief John Miller. "Obviously, the police and fire departments prepare for any eventuality, but the word we have is it's going to be sort of like a cloudy day, maybe very cloudy. And from the weather we've had here lately, that should be nothing unusual, except maybe the absence of rainfall."

Actually NASA says Biloxi could see 75 to 90 percent of the total eclipse, barring cloud cover.  The eclipse will impact Biloxi and surrounding areas until about 2 p.m. with the maximum sun coverage around 1:31 p.m.

During this astronomical event, officials advise not to look directly at the sun, something, by the way, you should never do anyway.

"We do not anticipate anything major happening in Biloxi during the eclipse,"  Miller added. "But we do advise that anyone driving if conditions become challenging, please pull over in a safe place, stop and view the eclipse, if, of course, you were lucky enough to get safety glasses."

You can also expect some cool sights, NASA says: "As the moon slips in front of the sun, (our) landscape will be bathed in long shadows, creating eerie lighting across the landscape. Light filtering through the overlapping leaves of trees, creating natural pinholes, which will also create mini eclipse replicas on the ground."

This eclipse marks the first total solar eclipse to span from the United States, from sea to shining sea, since 1918 and the last to be viewed from contiguous United States since Feb. 26, 1979 .  

If you miss this one, mark your calendars:  The next annular solar eclipse visible from the continental U.S. will be on Oct. 14, 2023. It will be visible from Northern California to Florida. After that, a total solar eclipse again occurs on April 8, 2024, visible from Texas to Maine. Get your glasses now.

See NASA's recommendations for viewing the eclipse safely
See NASA's facts about today's eclipse 
See how to make a pinhole projector
 Released by Vincent Creel and Cecilia Dobbs Walton