Solar eclipse eclipses first day of class

The eclipse will peak at 11:47 a.m. on Aug. 21

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Path of totality, 2017 eclipse
The path of totality skirts and runs through Wyoming. (Google / Vox)

Aug. 21 marks the first day of classes at UNC, and it’s also the day when the moon is set to eclipse the sun.

Known to many Eclipse Chasers as “The Great American Eclipse,” Monday’s solar eclipse is the first one of its kind in the U.S. since 1979, in that it’s a total solar eclipse. Viewers will see the silhouette of the moon cross in front of the sun for a time, partially or totally obscuring it. Those who are in what’s called “The Path of Totality” will get to see a full solar eclipse, where the moon completely blocks out the sun, darkening the land for a time.

According to greatamericaneclipse.com, 12.25 million people live inside the path of totality, which is a 70-mile-wide strip, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. Greeley is not in the path of totality, but nearby Casper, Wyoming is. A search of Airbnb reveals eclipse watching prices as high as $1,000. Expedia reports that most of their rooms, while at premium prices, are all sold out.

Vox’s interactive eclipse map shows that while Greeley just barely skirts the path of totality, the city will see a partial solar eclipse, with up to 95 percent coverage. The eclipse begins at 10:24 a.m., and will reach a peak at 11:47 that morning. The Michener Library will be hosting an eclipse viewing party from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 21 out in front of the library. Eclipse glasses will be handed out during that time for safe viewing.

While it may seem logical to assume that during an eclipse, it’s safe to look directly at the sun, this is not the case, according to NASA’s website. It’s still just as harmful to look directly at the sun during an eclipse as it is to look at the sun unobscured. To safely view the sun, a pair of specialized eclipse glasses are needed. UNC’s Michener Library will be handing them out for free, but supplies are limited. A pinhole viewer can be used to indirectly view the eclipse as it happens. Also important to note is that it’s unsafe to attempt to take pictures of the eclipse with a camera, The Verge reports. Attempting to do so without a filter could damage sensitive camera components.

Some professors have canceled class so that their students can view the eclipse.

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