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Aug. 21, 2017: Watch a darkening sky on your lunchbreak as Huntsville witnesses the solar eclipse

Image Courtesy: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Unless you’ve been living under a moon rock (and there are a few around here) you’ve likely heard about the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21. The eclipse will be visible in the middle of the day, so make plans to hop up from your desk and check out this phenomenon with your co-workers!

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, totally or partly obscuring the Sun for someone viewing it from Earth.

The total eclipse will be fully visible from the ‘path of totality’ – a band stretching across the central United States from Oregon to South Carolina. The closest spot on that band to us in north Alabama is Nashville, and the Music City is planning quite a party. Road trip, anyone?

In Huntsville, you’ll still get a great view — the sun will be 97 percent obscured. The partial eclipse begins at 12PM, the middle of the eclipse (the maximum amount the sun will be covered) is a little before 1:30PM and the partial eclipse ends just before 3PM.

Mike Ward, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s Senior VP of Government and Public Affairs, is a space enthusiast. He’s got his protective eyewear and he’s ready for the solar eclipse! (Photo: Claire Aiello)

NOTE: It’s very important to use protective eyewear when viewing the eclipse. It is never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays, even if the sun is partly obscured. NASA is also working to make sure you use safe eyewear — many reports have come in about unsafe eclipse glasses flooding the marketplace. NASA urges you to make sure you get your eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers from a reputable vendor. The glasses should contain wording that they meet 12312-2 ISO transmission requirements. Here is a list of reputable brands and where you can buy them. Locally, you can find solar eclipse eyewear at Lewter Hardware Co., Lowe’s, Walmart and other stores.

Read more about safe viewing on eclipse2017.nasa.gov.

Share Pictures!

We want you to share pictures! Take a group selfie of your school or workplace checking out the solar eclipse and post pictures to social media using the hashtag #eclipse2017

If you plan to take pictures of the actual eclipse – Popular Mechanics offers these tips on how to position your camera.

Learning Opportunities

Listen to a NASA Specialist at Eclipse Training 101 every Thursday during Biergarten at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Also, take home your own pair of eclipse viewing glasses.

  • August 3, 5:30 – 6 PM – Dr. Alphonse Sterling, Solar Scientist, Heliophysics and Planetary Science Branch, NASA/MSFC
  • August 10, 5:30 – 6 PM – Dr. Dennis Gallagher, Magnetospheric Physicist, Heliophysics and Planetary Science Branch, NASA/MSFC
  • August 17, 5:30 – 6 PM – Dr. Bill Cooke, Astronomer, Meteoroid Environment Office, and Mitzi Adams, Solar Scientist, Heliophysics and Planetary Science Branch, NASA/MSFC

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center will host eclipse day activities on August 21.