This August will be extra-special for South Carolina. On August 21, the Great American Eclipse will cross the United States in just 94 minutes, starting at Lincoln Beach, Oregon and ending near Charleston, South Carolina. The path of totality, about 70 miles wide, will come smack through the heart of the Palmetto State. We will get about 99 percent totality along the Grand Strand, which nevertheless ought to be a fine place for viewing. Added to the normal heavy tourist numbers in this final month of summer vacation will be hundreds of thousands traveling hereabouts (maybe Charleston especially) just for the eclipse. So I'd just as soon not drive anywhere to upgrade from 99% to 100% moon blotting of the sun.
The last time the contiguous United States had a total eclipse was 1979. I don't have a sharp recollection of that one -- perhaps we had cloudy weather. It won't be such a long wait for the next one in North America -- just about seven years (April 8, 2024) -- though we seniors don't take our inclusion in such timetables for granted.
Anyway, we have ordered our certifiably safe-for-solar-eclipse-viewing glasses -- from Amazon, of course. A local TV station and some stores and organizations say they will be giving them away, but I figured they could run out quickly. So for just $6.34, I got a pack of 10 with a commemorative U.S. flag design and the date -- August 21, 2017 -- imprinted on them. That should cover the family, including grandkids, and maybe will be a good reminder of the day for years to come.
It should be a blast, if no tropical storms come a-calling.
© Robert Gray Holland 2017
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