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Total Solar Eclipse 2017: Introduction

On Monday, August 21, 2017, people in South Carolina may see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. Use this guide to learn more.

Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017

The Total Solar Eclipse will occur on August 21, 2017. The path of totality will start in Salem, Oregon and end in Charleston, South Carolina. Columbia will see a total solar eclipse (100% totality).  A total solar eclipse happens when the sun, moon and earth line up so perfectly that the moon blocks the sun, creating rare and spectacular effects across the sky and throughout the natural environment, including darkness in the middle of the day and the elusive “corona” effect around the sun, visible only during a 100% total solar eclipse.

During a total solar eclipse, strange phenomena occur:

  • Darkness in the middle of the day
  • Corona, “diamond ring” and other light effects around the sun
  • 360-degree sunset around the entire horizon; this deepens before darkness
  • Nocturnal animals emerge and begin “nighttime” routines
  • Birds come in to roost and stop chirping
  • Temperature drops 5-15 degrees
  • Stars and bright planets such as Mars, Venus, Mercury & Jupiter become visible
  • After the eclipse, as light breaks, birds chirp as if it is daybreak

Total Solar Eclipse: Columbia, SC

At 2:41 p.m. on Monday, August 21, 2017, viewers in the greater Columbia, S.C., area will experience the longest total solar eclipse on the East Coast. NASA estimates that South Carolina could see an influx of up to 1 million visitors to witness the first total solar eclipse to make a path all the way across the continental U.S. in 99 years. Columbia is the third largest city in the U.S. to be on the center line of totality and will experience 2 minutes and 36 seconds of darkness in the middle of the afternoon. The length of totality for Charleston is 1 min. 30 seconds.  For Greenville, totality will last for 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

This monumental eclipse is projected to be the most viewed total eclipse in history. The next time a total solar eclipse will be visible from the greater Columbia, S.C., area is 2078.

Use this guide to learn more about statewide eclipse events, educational resources, activities and games, how to safely view the eclipse, and more!

Details for the Eclipse in Columbia, SC

Date: August 21, 2017

Eclipse Begins: 1:13 p.m.

Total Solar Eclipse: 2:41-2:44 p.m. (2 minutes and 36 seconds of darkness)

Eclipse Ends: 4:06 p.m.

Percent Totality: 100% total eclipse