Enjoy the View
On Monday, August 21, 2017, Columbia will see the east coast's longest total solar eclipse, experiencing two minutes and 36 seconds of darkness in the middle of the afternoon.
When totality occurs (the complete coverage of the sun by the moon), the sky darkens, the temperature drops, stars appear, the sky produces spectacular visual effects and the sun's corona blazes into view.
Check out our tips below to ensure that everyone in your family can safely enjoy the view.
It's NEVER safe to look directly at the sun, except when the sun is completely blocked during the period of total eclipse known as totality. If you want to watch the eclipse, make sure you've got an ISO 12312-2 compliant and CE certified pair of specialty glasses.
Where Can I Get Glasses?
- All Richland Library locations are currently out of Eclipse Glasses. On Friday, August 18 we handed out more than 9,000 pairs across the county in under 2.5 hrs!
**Updated at 11:56 a.m. on Friday, August 18.**
- Free glasses will be distributed at the majority of events listed on TotalEclipseColumbiaSC.com.
- You can purchase glasses at a variety of locations around town like the Columbia SC Visitors’ Center, the SC State Museum, the SC State House Gift Shop, Mast General Store on Main Street, 20/20 Vision in Five Points and and at SC State Parks . Glasses range from $1-3 each. Check availability before you stop by any of these locations.
What to Watch and When:
PARTIAL ECLIPSE | GLASSES ON
Starts: 1:13 p.m.
The eclipse begins when the sun's disk is partially blocked by the moon.
BAILY'S BEADS | GLASSES ON
As totality approaches, only the low-lying valleys on the moon's edge allow sunlight through, forming bright spots of light called Baily's Beads.
DIAMOND RING | GLASSES ON
The last of the sunlight streaming through the moon's valleys creates a single, bright flash of light on the side of the moon. This is known as the diamond ring effect, and it marks the last few seconds before totality begins.
TOTALITY | GLASSES OFF
Starts: 2:42 p.m. / Ends: 2:44 p.m.
Once the diamond ring disappears and the moon completely covers the entire disk of the sun, you may safely look at the eclipse without a solar filter. Be careful to protect your eyes again before the end of totality.
FINAL STAGES | GLASSES ON
A crescent will begin to grow on the opposite side of the sun from where the Baily's Beads shone at the beginning. The crescent is the lower atmosphere of the sun, beginning to peek out from behind the moon and it is your signal
to stop looking directly at the eclipse. Make sure you have your safety glasses back on—or are otherwise watching the eclipse through a safe, indirect method—before the first flash of sunlight appears around the edges of the moon.
PARTIAL ECLIPSE | GLASSES ON
Ends: 4:06 p.m.
The disks of the sun and the moon separate again.
Click here for a full list of library eclipse programs. For more information about the eclipse and a full schedule of events around town, visit TotalEclipseColumbiaSC.com.
Special thanks to the Richland Library Friends for providing NASA-approved solar eclipse glasses.