What you Need to Know about the Solar
Eclipse on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands
BY JOY CRIST
We’re just a few days away from the August 21
solar eclipse, and the islands - as well as the rest of the country –
seem to have Eclipse Fever.
Local stores and national chairs report being
sold out of the eclipse viewing glasses, “solar eclipse” is now one of
the top searches in Google, and many folks are wondering where will be
the best spot to catch the show.
The good news is that if you’re on Hatteras or Ocracoke Islands, you have a pretty great seat for the Monday afternoon event.
What You’ll See and When
The islands are outside of the “path of totality”
– a 70 mile wide and 3,000 mile long path that will experience roughly
two minutes of total darkness. This path extends from Oregon to South
Carolina, and the only part of North Carolina that’s included in the
path of totality is a relatively small section of the western part of
But regardless of where you land on Hatteras and
Ocracoke Islands, expect to experience 89-90% coverage. This means that
the majority of the sun will be covered by the moon, and while there
won’t be the experience of total darkness, it will nevertheless be
impressive (provided there are no clouds blocking the way.)
Here’s a detailed look at the eclipse on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands:
Ocracoke, North Carolina, USA
Partial solar eclipse visible (90.74% coverage of Sun)
Duration: 2 hours, 46 minutes, 56 seconds
Partial begins: Aug 21 at 1:23:24 pm
Maximum: Aug 21 at 2:50:37 pm
Partial ends: Aug 21 at 4:10:20 pm
Hatteras, North Carolina, USA
Partial solar eclipse visible (89.97% coverage of Sun)
Duration: 2 hours, 46 minutes, 31 seconds
Partial begins: Aug 21 at 1:23:56 pm
Maximum: Aug 21 at 2:50:56 pm
Partial ends: Aug 21 at 4:10:27 pm
Avon, North Carolina, USA
Partial solar eclipse visible (89.29% coverage of Sun)
Duration: 2 hours, 46 minutes, 7 seconds
Partial begins: Aug 21 at 1:24:15 pm
Maximum: Aug 21 at 2:51:01 pm
Partial ends: Aug 21 at 4:10:22 pm
Rodanthe, North Carolina, USA
Partial solar eclipse visible (88.51% coverage of Sun)
Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes, 51 seconds
Partial begins: Aug 21 at 1:24:05 pm
Maximum: Aug 21 at 2:50:42 pm
Partial ends: Aug 21 at 4:09:56 pm
How to Watch the Eclipse if You Don’t Have Glasses Yet
Don’t have glasses? You’re not alone.
Local stores that were carrying glasses have sold
out, and the Dare County libraries are reporting that their supplies
are depleted as well.
But there are some other options out there for
viewers. Crafty folks can try their hand at creating pinhole projectors
and other projection techniques which are a safe, indirect viewing
option for observing an image of the sun. (NASA has a few DIY ideas on
their website here: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-viewing.)
In addition, several locations along the Outer
Banks will have “viewing parties” with glasses while supplies last,
such as the Lee Robinson General Store in Hatteras village, and
Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head.
Whatever you do, don’t take a risk and stare at
the sun. Optometrists all across the country have been scrambling to
warn people not to look directly at the eclipse, and safety warnings
are everywhere about faux eclipse glasses that may not have the
required solar filters. For more info on safety - which includes tips
on viewing – NASA is once again a great source. See https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety
for info, and remember that NASA will also be live streaming the event
in case you’re stuck inside and don’t want to miss a thing.
Why is Everyone so Crazy Over the Eclipse?
There’s a lot of hype surrounding August 21’s
event, but it’s fairly justified. This is the first total solar eclipse
to occur in the United States in 99 years, and for most North
Carolinians, this will be the best chance to see a solar eclipse in
their lifetime. (Although another solar eclipse will be heading our way
on April 8, 2024, which will be visible in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas,
Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York,
Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada.)
Anything Else to Know?
Be careful when travelling during the eclipse, especially if you plan to go to the western part of the state.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation
reports that seven counties in the far west – Cherokee, Graham, Clay,
Swain, Macon, Jackson, and Transylvania – are in the path of totality
and will experience very high traffic volumes as visitors head to these
areas to see the show.
While most safety precautions by the NCDOT are
occurring solely in the western part of the state, it is nevertheless a
good idea to watch for slower than usual traffic locally as folks do a
double take when the sun almost disappears.
For more tips from NCDOT on being prepared – especially if you have any plans to travel to Western North Carolina - visit https://www.ncdot.gov/newsroom/2017eclipse/.