USC Aiken DuPont Planetarium experts share best spots to see solar eclipse, how to safely watch spectacle of a lifetime


AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – You won’t have to travel far to watch the spectacle of a lifetime, because Aiken’s one of the best places to watch the Great American Solar Eclipse.

The Palmetto State will be the last place to catch the suns dark halo surrounding the moon, and right in the path of the total solar eclipse is Aiken, “the jewel of the eclipse.”

“So this area where the city of Aiken is, actually will only experience 99.9 percent,” said U.S.C. Aiken DuPont Planetarium Program Director Darlene Smalley.

That means that the “All America City” will experience the eclipse much longer than most locations.

For nearly 2 minutes, around 2:42 p.m on Aug., 21, the moon will block the Earth from the sun, turning the day dark.

“The sky will become twilight. The air will cool. The stars will appear.”

“It will have an impact on animals. So sometimes they say animals will go to roost, because they think it’s nighttime and then when the moon starts moving away, you might hear roosters crow. So it will be interesting to observe.” Smalley told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Looking at the solar eclipse straight on could do some serious damage to your eyes.

So experts encourage spectators to put on these glasses, or use the right viewing equipment.

It’s only safe to look at the sun once it’s completely covered.

“In fact you should take your glasses off for that brief moment or you won’t be able to fully appreciate the corona,” said Smalley.

It’s a view that some people wait a lifetime to see and won’t happen again until 2078.

“You can see the shadow coming from West to East,” Smalley said. “You see it coming and then you’re engulfed in it, and it’s a very unique feeling to just be engulfed in that shadow and experience that brief moment of darkness.”

The DuPont Planetarium is selling solar eclipse viewing glasses for $2 dollars.Click here for more information. 

The 4 best areas in Aiken County to watch the solar eclipse are Gravatt Camp and Conference Center, the Wagener Salley area, Ridge Spring Monetta, and Batesburg.Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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