The solar eclipse that’s sweeping across the country this coming Monday will be partially visible in Atlanta.
In places where there’s a total eclipse, including in northeast Georgia, the sun will be blocked by the moon completely. Here, there will be a little sliver of it peeking out, as the moon blocks nearly 98 percent of the sun.
“You will have a crescent sun,” said Stephen Ramsden, the founder of the Atlanta-based Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project. He goes around the world, donating telescopes and teaching kids about the sun.
During the eclipse, here in Atlanta, “It’s going to be a little bit darker than normal, but it’s still bright enough to hurt your eyes, so don’t look at it with your naked eye,” he said.
Use eclipse glasses to look straight at the sun. But if you don’t have those, you don’t have to miss out on the experience, said April Whitt, an astronomer at Fernbank Science Center.
“If you have a cheese grater, or a colander, let the sun shine through, and it will look like little round circles,” she said. “When the eclipse begins, each of those circles will have a little bit taken out.”
Or poke a hole in a piece of paper. Anything with holes will work as a pinhole viewer, and cast eclipse-shaped shadows that you can look at. Even leaves on trees.
“You know those little sun speckles that are under trees? Tree leaves are acting like little pinhole projectors. So as the sunlight shines through, the little images of the sun are on the ground during the eclipse, instead of being little circles, little sequins, they’re little crescents,” Whitt said.
The Total Experience
For people who can travel to the path of totality, Ramsden said seeing a total eclipse is unforgettable.
“You’ll see this wispy veil-like corona, floating around the edge of the sun. It is an unbelievably inspiring thing to see,” he said. “Call in sick, take a day off, drive to the northeast. Take somebody you love. Enjoy the event.”
And during this eclipse, four planets will be visible when the sun is totally blocked.
Still, Whitt said, even if you can’t get out of work or school to travel to the path of totality, the partial eclipse in Atlanta is well worth watching.
Just step outside or find a window with a sunbeam shining through by 2:36 in the afternoon. Have your eclipse glasses, or cheese grater, or nearby tree at the ready. You’ll still get a bit of the experience.