Corinth will see obscured eclipse: Monday’s weather forecast looks good for rare event

August 16, 2017

For those who will not be in the path of totality when an eclipse darkens the sky on Monday, there are other opportunities to get a glimpse of a rare astronomical event. The view from Corinth will be about as good as it gets in Mississippi, with the sun 94.8 percent obscured on the north side of the city. The partial eclipse will begin at 11:55 a.m., reach its maximum at 1:26 p.m. and end at 2:53 p.m. The weather forecast looks promising, calling for mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of a shower. While it will not be as dramatic outside the 70-mile wide path of totality, which crosses through Nashville, it’s not hard to find other venues in the region getting in on the eclipse fever. Memphis’ Pink Palace Museum will have a free solar eclipse event from noon to 2 p.m. with safe viewing telescopes, a live NASA feed in the planetarium lobby and related eclipse activities. Other Memphis venues such as the Dixon Gallery and Gardens and Shelby Farms will host events. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suggests heading to the lake in Mississippi, with reservoirs such as Sardis providing recreation areas with open areas for viewing an unobstructed sky. Northeast Mississippi Community College will be among schools getting students involved. Physics Instructor George Nock said the school is planning to set up viewing stations and will have some eclipse glasses for students to use. “We are also going to set up a pinhole viewer and possibly use mirrors to view the partial eclipse on a screen or sheet,” he said. “Another interesting phenomenon that I am going to look for but have never seen is how the partial eclipse looks under trees. The leaves act as multiple pinhole viewers, and the spots of light on the ground under the tree are supposed to appear as crescent shapes.” Safety is a big concern, given the potential for permanent eye damage from looking at the sun and the recent discovery that some of the eclipse viewing glasses that have been sold online are not legitimate. “If you can see shaded lamps or other common household light fixtures (not bare bulbs) of more ordinary brightness through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, and you’re not sure the product came from a reputable vendor, it’s no good,” advises the American Astronomical Society. “Safe solar filters produce a view of the sun that is comfortably bright (like the full moon), in focus, and surrounded by dark sky. If you glance at the sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus, and/or surrounded by a bright haze, it’s no good.” The last total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. was in 1979. On Aug. 12, 2045, a total solar eclipse will sweep across parts of north Mississippi, although Corinth will again not be in the path of totality. (For more on Nashville eclipse activities: visitmusiccity.com/eclipse)