Special Report: Total Eclipse - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Special Report: Total Eclipse

(WFIE) (WFIE)
TRI-STATE (WFIE) -

American skywatchers are going to witness something most of us haven't seen in our lifetimes.

It's a total solar eclipse. And it's being called the Great American Eclipse. It will happen on August 21, 2017.

On that day, the moon will pass directly in front of the sun, creating a 60-mile wide path of its shadow, that sweeps its way across the country... from coast to coast. And YOU won't want to miss it.

"I've experienced one eclipse.  And it was a doozy," said Mitch Luman with the Evansville Museum. "We can expect if it's clear, the sky will darken, the moon will cover the sun. We'll have for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, darkness where you can see the outer atmosphere of the sun. You can't see it except during this time. The moon is the blackest black you've ever seen. And the stillness that everyone experiences is really something that is a once in a lifetime event." 

The moon's shadow isn't the only thing that's likely to get your attention.

"Another noticeable thing is that the temperature will drop like 10 to 15 degrees  when the sun gets completely covered. And that's pretty spectacular," said Mike Borman, with the Evansville Astronomical Society. "You'll start noticing effects with animals. Birds and such will start acting like it's sunset."

In the days leading up to the eclipse, tens of thousands of people will be converging upon western Kentucky.

Places like Evansville will only see a deep PARTIAL eclipse of about 99%. But if you live in the Tri-State, you're in a great jumping off spot. Totality is just an hour and 20 minutes away... in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

"We are at the point, we are basically at the center where the sun the moon and the Earth line up almost exactly in a straight line as close as possible," said Scott Bain, Hopkinsville Community College Associate Professor. "So we are the special point for that reason."

They've been planning for years to host a slew of visitors... And they're not taking this opportunity for granted.

Scott Bain: "To have it happen in your own backyard where you just have to step outside and look up to see it is rare because the total eclipse is visible from such a small area, just a strip of land across the world."

And no matter what area you are located, the message is clear.

"Eclipses don't happen that often and when they do, you should take advantage of it," said Luman. "The sun is in our sky every day. To see it covered by the moon is unlike anything you'll ever experience. The darkness, the wonder, the blackness of the moon, the outer atmosphere of the sun that you only see during these events. It won't happen very often and this is one that you will not want to miss."

"You definitely want to take the day off of work to see this thing. I mean this is one of the most spectacular things that you can see," said Borman. "You don't want to miss it." 

The Evansville Museum, Astronomical Society and the city of Hopkinsville are all getting prepared for this event with information and workshops. 

We'll be there over the coming months to make sure that you don't miss your opportunity to cash in on this lifetime event. But if you do happen to miss it, you will have a rare second chance to see one in our area again, in the year 2024.

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