Total Eclipse 101

I’ve been belting “Total Eclipse of the Heart” just about every time I come across a solar eclipse story or hear someone mention needing glasses.  I’ve seen a lot of questions or confusion about the upcoming total solar eclipse – one friend even asking if special glasses were necessary.  

P.S. Yes, they are if you want to keep your eyeballs and not go blind!!

So like the nerd I am I’ve pulled together a little info – just the basics – about the eclipse.

Total Eclipse 101 - The Palmetto Peaches -

Total Eclipse 101

Wait so what is it?

Basically, a solar eclipse is what happens when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the light from the sun and forming a fast-moving shadow on the surface of our planet.  

Why is everyone freaking out?

This is the first total solar eclipse to occur solely in the United States since 1918. For most Americans, this is the best chance we’ll get to see a solar eclipse in our lifetimes. There’s another solar eclipse happening in 2024, but it’s not a coast-to-coast event like this.

Anyways, this go around will put an estimated 12 million people in the path of totality (more on this later). Also, the greatamericaneclipse website, estimates that between 1.85 and 7.4 million people will visit the path of totality on eclipse day. Basically, this is America’s golden ticket to get inside the Wonka factory.

What is “the path of totality”?

Okay folks, so people are going to throw around this term a lot. The path of totality is the 70-mile-wide, 3,000-mile-long area that lies directly in the shadow of the moon. For this eclipse, it will start off the coast of Oregon and sweep across the country to my beautiful hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. If you’re outside the path of totality, you will see a partial eclipse – like a cookie with a bite taken out of it.

Total Eclipse 101 - The Palmetto Peaches -

Source: NASA


What to expect

It’ll happen pretty quickly. From everything I’ve read, the most people will view the full event in about 2.5 minutes. Here’s the funny thing: apparently eclipses give Mother Nature a buzz or drunk goggles, if you will.  The sky will grow dark, birds will stop singing, some  around the horizon, temperatures will drop, and you might even spot a few stars. Eclipses also confuse Mother Nature, so animals be going a little batty.

What not to do

For the love of pizza, do not look at the sun without some protective eyewear. There’s basically a 50% chance of vision loss. For anyone along the path of totality, you’ll get to take your glasses off temporarily when the moon covers the entire sun. But look, you’re not going to sue me for bad advice.  Check out this website for eclipse safety.

So that’s it! Is anyone taking a trip to view the solar eclipse in the path of totality? Or do you live in that area? Leave me a comment below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches