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  • Image of an eclipse

    On Aug. 21 the moon will line up directly between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on our planet that will travel across the U.S.

Fun Facts

In the year 1900, then Davidson College professor and future college president Henry Louis Smith joined astronomers from several other universities to participate in an expedition to observe the May 28 total eclipse from Winnsboro, S.C. During the 19th and early 20th century, it was common for American universities to assemble such expeditions to study the sun and physical phenomena during eclipses. Of all of the great eclipse expeditions of this era, there are only two observing stations that are in the path of totality for the 2017 Great American Eclipse, and Winnsboro, S.C. is one.

Here are some other fun facts about the eclipse.

  • Dubbed the "Great American Eclipse" because it is only visible from the U.S.
  • The path of totality averages 68 miles wide and is about 2,500 miles long.
  • The last solar eclipse to touch only American soil was in 1257. The next one won't occur until 2316.
  • This is the first total eclipe to sweep coast to coast since the U.S gained its independence in 1776.
  • Everyone in the U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. Only those located within the path of totality, indicated above by the gray band, will see a full eclipse.
  • The eclipse centerline passes through 12 states from Oregon to South Carolina.
  • Total solar eclipses present unique opportunities for scientific research into a variety of topics, such as varying luminosity of the sun and the relationship between surface temperatures and atmospheric changes.
  • Local animals and birds often prepare for sleep or behave confusedly during totality.
  • Local temperatures can drop as much as 20 degrees during a total solar eclipse.
  • More facts

Eclipse timing

  • Partial eclipse begins at 1:12 p.m.
  • Maximum eclipse (97% from campus) experience at 2:41 p.m.
  • Partial eclipse ends at 4:03 p.m.