MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - “A total eclipse of the sun. Visible today over North America for the last time in this century,” said during a ABC News broadcast.
1979. That was the last time a total eclipse was visible from the continental United States.
On Monday, much of the country will experience a total solar eclipse for the first time in decades.
“It is very rare that one impacts the U.S.” explained Storm Team 11 Chief Meteorologist Brian Hutton Jr. “The last one to impact us was 38 years ago and it is even rarer that it goes coast to coast across the U.S. So this is truly a unique event and for some people maybe a once in a lifetime event.”
What makes a total solar eclipse so rare is how it happens in our atmosphere. The moon has to move directly between the sun and earth which casts a shadow on our planet.
“The moon rotates around the earth every 28 days and so there is a point, usually about once a month, where there is a shot that the moon comes directly between us and that is usually the new moon phase,” stated Hutton.
There is a small swath of land that will see totality or total blocking of the sun. Even so, those in the twin states will see a partial solar eclipse with the moon covering at least 85% of the sun.
“For us, if you are being safe and actually able to observe it,” stated Hutton. “It will look like just a crescent of the sun left. If you think about the crescent moon that is about how much of the sun we will see here that is not being blocked out by the moon.”
“August 21st, 2017 will another eclipse be visible from North America. That is 38 years from now,” explained during the ABC News broadcast.
An important reminder: looking at the eclipse without ISO approved glasses can damage your eyes.
The big show starts around noon and will last until about 3pm
“Our next major total solar eclipse is not until 2045,” said Hutton. “That one uniquely Meridian will be in the path of totality.”