Great American Eclipse is one month away - WSMV Channel 4

Great American Eclipse is one month away

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)
The Adventure Science Center is selling eclipse glasses. (WSMV) The Adventure Science Center is selling eclipse glasses. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Friday marks one month until The Great American Eclipse.

It sounds pretty simple: the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, casting its shadow on a small part of our planet.

So why is it prompting such a strong response?

Well, total solar eclipses are very rare -- the last one visible in Nashville was in 1478. That was 529 years ago!

“The shadow of the moon is only 60 to 70 miles wide, so you have to be standing in just the right place on Earth, which is why it’s such a rare experience,” said Derrick Rohl, planetarium manager at the Adventure Science Center.

Many have seen a partial solar eclipse -- so, is what we’re going to see on Aug. 21 really that different?

“When you have a total eclipse, none of the sun’s surface is visible, and that means it’s the only time with the naked eye that you can see the sun’s atmosphere,” said Rohl. “You’ll see this glow, we call it the 'corona,' around the sun. Some people say it looks like a hole just got punched out of the sky.”

What should people do to prepare for the eclipse one month in advance?

First, find out if your neighborhood is in the path of the total eclipse.

“We would definitely recommend going online and checking the map and figuring out if you’re inside or outside of that path because you don’t want to be so close and miss this incredible experience,” Rohl said.

Next, figure out where you want to watch the show. Don’t just wing it on Aug. 21. If you think Nashville traffic is bad on a normal day, wait until the eclipse crowds show up and jam things up!

Finally, and most importantly, get protective eyewear to safely observe the eclipse before it reaches totality.

Regular sunglasses won’t protect your eyes when looking at the sun. Eclipse glasses are needed. They’re easy to order online, but you may need to order sooner than later to ensure delivery.

Click here for some of NASA's eclipse glasses recommendations and other safety tips. 

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