Eclipse: Although partial, Vicksburg area to get great show

Published 6:44 pm Sunday, August 13, 2017

solar event decades in the making will soon cast a shadow across the country.

For the first time since Feb. 26, 1979, a total solar eclipse will take place in the continental United States Monday, Aug. 21. The eclipse will cut a path of totality, in which the sun will be fully obscured, across the middle of the country from Oregon to South Carolina.

To commemorate the event, the Vicksburg National Military Park will be hosting an event at the visitor’s center including a program on the skies during the Civil War.

“We are going to be having a program at 1 p.m. on the 21st,” park ranger Lela White said.

“It will be a short program on the skies of the Civil War dealing with the various phenomena that occurred during the Civil War,” she said. “It is based on the information from actual soldiers’ diaries during the time period. The ranger will be talking about what that might have meant to those soldiers.”

Vicksburg is not within the path of totality, but viewers will still be able to a partial eclipse with up to 82 percent of the sun obscured by the moon at the peak. The eclipse will start locally at 11:53 a.m. and reach its peak at 1:24 p.m. before ending at 2:52 p.m. 

To see the eclipse in totality, the closest location is Nashville, Tenn.

Because Vicksburg is not within the path of totality, at no time should the eclipse be viewed without proper eye protection.

The military park will have a limited number of certified solar eclipse viewing glasses for those in attendance.

“If you decide to bring your own glasses, please make sure that they are the appropriate glasses following the NASA guidelines,” White said. “Most of the glasses are made in the U.S. They have a specific number. If you decide to bring your own, for your own safety, they need to be the appropriate glasses.”

Certified glasses should say they meet ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.

For full guidelines on how to properly view the eclipse, see eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety. 

An eclipse occurs when the earth, moon and sun align in a straight line and the moon blocks the sun.

The next full solar eclipse in the continental U.S. will take place April 8, 2024.