Astronomer explains why you should not miss the solar eclipse - WSMV News 4

Astronomer explains why you should not miss the solar eclipse

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Nashville and much of Middle Tennessee are getting ready for what scientists call a celestial coincidence.

On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will come right through the area’s backyard. It likely won’t happen again for 600 years.

Astronomers say residents should know how lucky they are to be in the path of totality.

“If you stand in any one place and just wait for the shadow of totality to come to you, you wait 375 years. For us here in Nashville, we’ve been waiting since 1478, so we’re long overdue,” said Derrick Rohl, an astronomer with the Adventure Science Center.

In the minds of the men and women who study the sky and the space above, the difference between a 99 percent eclipse and total eclipse is night and day.

“That’s about as bright as a full moon, so we’re not talking pitch black. If we can see totality, we can see the sun’s atmosphere. It’ll be a like a full moon night time in the middle of the day. Some say a sort of eerie twilight feeling,” Rohl said.

One reason Rohl moved here two years ago is he knew the eclipse was coming and he wanted to be in the middle of it. Now he is.

The Adventure Science Center’s eclipse show hosts sellout crowds three times a day. Next week, there will be five shows a day. There will be 42 shows on eclipse weekend.

“This is part of us being in the official NASA rotation,” Rohl said.

Rohl hopes everyone is watching on Aug. 21.

“I tell people you better work out or eat healthy if you miss this one. You won’t see it again until 2556. That’s a long wait,” he said.

The Adventure Science Center has sold 31,000 eclipse glasses and handed out more than 110,000 to schools.

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