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If you’ll be at Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 21, you’re in for some spectacular entertainment — a rare total solar eclipse.
Just about anyone in the United States will be able to see at least a partial eclipse if there’s no cloud cover. But only people in a 70-mile-wide swath from Oregon to South Carolina will be able to see the eclipse in its totality. Blairsville, Ga., home of Crossing Creeks, lies within that path.
The eclipse, from partial through full and then again through partial stages, will last up to 3 hours. It will begin about 1:07 p.m. It will reach totality about 2:37 p.m., making it look as if nightfall has arrived. You may not want to miss it: A total solar eclipse won’t be visible again in northern Georgia until 2078.
But be careful how you view the eclipse. I found information on safe viewing from the people who know a thing or two about heavenly bodies: NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA says it’s safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye only in its total stage. The total eclipse — when the sun appears to be a black sphere surrounded by a bright aura — will last a mere 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Looking directly at the stages before and after the total stage can injure your eyes.
NASA recommends using eclipse safety glasses. These solar filters, held together by cardboard frames, are sold online and in discount stores for $4 to $5. Eclipse glasses meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. The American Astronomical Society, part of the National Science Foundation, says the following manufacturers make certified eclipse safety glasses: American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.
Make sure the glasses have no scratches or holes. Put them on before glancing at the sun, NASA suggests. Look away from the sun before removing them.
Warning: Normal sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the eclipse. Even dark ski goggles are not safe. And NASA warns not to look directly though a camera or telescope unless equipped with properly fitting solar filters.
Here are two ways to watch indirectly:
You don’t need to climb up on your RV to see this show. There are air conditioning units, luggage racks and solar panels up there, and it’s a long, dangerous way down if you fall. You’re safer on the ground, unless your RV is set up to handle rooftop sitting.
Enjoy the show!
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