Tue, 06/19/2018 - 4:49am

solar eclipse

Southwestern CC teams with NASA for balloon study

It’s going to start getting dark in Sylva, NC, just after noon on August 21, 2017. 

That’s because Sylva lies directly in the path of a once-in-a-generation natural phenomenon that will blanket the area in daytime darkness. A total solar eclipse will track across the contiguous (lower 48) United States for the first time since 1979. The last time Jackson County fell in the path of what scientists call “totality” was in the year 1506; the next total solar eclipse won’t cast a shadow on Jackson County until 2153. 

Understanding a Solar Eclipse: Then and Now

Thanks to scientific observations with telescopes, satellites and mathematical calculations, we not only understand what happens during a solar eclipse but we can also predict when they will occur and where they will be seen well into the future. 

That hasn’t always been the case. 

Take, for example, the origin of the word eclipse. It’s derived from the ancient Greek word ekleipsis, meaning "abandonment." You get the idea. The folks back then thought the Sun had just turned off. It had, in effect, abandoned the Earth.