Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 24

As seen in the Appalachian Mountains, at 1:05 p.m. the
moon begins its three-hour long march across the face of
the sun. Do not look at the partially eclipsed sun without
the proper filters! (Image is of Oct. 23, 2014 solar eclipse in
Roanoke, Virginia.)

Being an avid skywatcher since I was
a young boy, I had waited years for
the morning of February 26, 1979.
After recently graduating from college, I found myself sitting in a car
with friends, driving across Washington's Cascade Mountains to an
undetermined location along Interstate 90. It was 6:45 a.m., the skies
were clearing, the sun was rising,
and we had only 90 minutes to get
to our destination. It was going to
be close.
At 8:10, we pulled off the freeway
and drove up a low hill, hopped out
of the car, and looked anxiously
westward. We could see darkness on
the horizon forming into a shadow
rushing towards us. Before we could
exclaim a version of (the cleaned-
up) "Oh, my!" we stood in darkness,
with the blacked-out sun engulfed
in the solar corona hanging low in
the east. Venus was easily seen shining to its right. Stars were twinkling
overhead. It was night, yet it was
day. We were cheering!
It was my first, and, so far, only
total eclipse of the sun. It was a sight
24 BlueRidgeCountry.com

I've never forgotten. It was a sight I
want to see again.
Just such an event is approaching
again, this time on the afternoon of
August 21, 2017. It will be viewable,
weather permitting, for millions of
people across the United States, including those folks watching within a band through the southern Appalachian Mountains.
What causes a total solar
eclipse?
The moon passes between Earth
and the sun at some point on its
monthly orbit around Earth. Most
months, it appears to slide either
slightly above or below the sun. Occasionally though, the moon moves
exactly between Earth and the sun,
blocking a portion of the sun and
giving a solar eclipse. If the moon
also happens to be relatively close
to Earth, then viewers along a particular path on our planet see a spectacular and unforgettable total solar
eclipse.
How to view this special cosmic event.
Just after 1 p.m. on August 21,

the moon begins to slowly creep
across the face of the sun. This can
be seen directly by looking through
number 14 welder's glass or specially
approved filtered eclipse glasses. The
sun is 400,000 times brighter than
the full moon, and even a 99 percent obscured sun can easily cause
severe eye damage. Do not look at
the partially eclipsed sun without
the proper filters!
At 2:35 p.m., the lunar shadow's
cross-country journey reaches eastern Tennessee. The shadow then
continues on its easterly way by
moving through the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park and western North Carolina, nicking the
northeastern corner of Georgia, and
passing through much of South Carolina before heading out to sea near
Charleston. Only along this specific
path will a total solar eclipse occur.
The weather is the biggest
concern.
The real issue is not if the
eclipse will occur-as it most certainly will-but will the skies be
clear enough for viewers to appre-


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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017

July/August 2017 - Cover
Table of Contents
Letters / Worth a Click
Contributors
From the Editor
Mill Creek Stories
Creature Feature
The Good Walk
Mountain Report
Country Roads
Eclipse!
Saluting the Blue Ridge Parkway: A Photo Essay
Mountain High Life: Explorations for Summer
‘Swiss’ Towns in the Mountains
The Strange Post-Biltmore Life of Cornelia Vanderbilt
The Almost-Happened Lost States of the Mountains
Farm-to-Table in Upcountry South Carolina
Festivals & Events
Singing in the Garden
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - July/August 2017 - Cover
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Letters / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Contributors
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - The Good Walk
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Eclipse!
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Saluting the Blue Ridge Parkway: A Photo Essay
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Mountain High Life: Explorations for Summer
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - ‘Swiss’ Towns in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - The Strange Post-Biltmore Life of Cornelia Vanderbilt
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - The Almost-Happened Lost States of the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Farm-to-Table in Upcountry South Carolina
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Singing in the Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2017 - Cover4
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