Eclipse day is just over a month away. Are you ready for the North American astronomy experience of a lifetime?
1. Asheville is NOT in the path of totality
RELATED | Eclipse guide for the Asheville area
View a map of eclipse totality here that shows the path of the moon's shadow across the U.S.
2. Totality MATTERS
You want to take the time to put yourself in the path of totality during the eclipse.
Asheville will experience around 99 percent of totality, but veteran eclipse-watchers warn that while partial eclipses, even those at 99 percent, are interesting, only a total eclipse provides the "full, jaw-dropping, knee-buckling, emotionally overloading, completely overwhelming spectacle that is totality."
For those outside the path, there is no dramatic moment of totality, no dance of Baily’s Beads around the edge of the moon’s disk, no intense darkening of the skies, no stars and planets suddenly revealing themselves against an impossible twilight, no corona flashing into view (the otherworldly beauty of which makes even veteran total eclipse observers gasp in amazement), and no primordial fear which sinks ever so slightly even the modern heart. There is no pitch-blackened disk of the sun, no discernable temperature drop, no impossible nighttime during the day, no scintillating chromosphere or glorious prominences, no 360-degree sunset effect around the horizon, no uncontrollable shouts of emotional overload from the assembled crowd, and no lingering post-eclipse sensation of certainty that you have just done one of the coolest things you’ll ever do in your life.
Unless you are in the path of totality, the sky will remain blue and you'll miss one of the most amazing things a total solar eclipse lets you experience: during totality, you can safely view the Sun's corona with your naked eye.
You might even get to see a prominence, an eruption of gas many times the size of the Earth extending from the surface of the Sun.
You've been warned.
3. If you think you've seen a total solar eclipse before but you're not sure...
You haven't seen one.
If you saw crescent-shaped shadows on the ground in elementary school and you think that's what viewing a total solar eclipse is, check out this account from Eclipse2017.org, or compare your memories to what's described above in #2.
4. If you haven't made travel plans, make them now
Hotels and other rentals are filling up, and driving conditions the day of might not be ideal with plenty of people on the road to see the eclipse.
"Traffic, along with weather, will be the chief challenges for people wanting to see the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017," writes EarthSky.
Ideally, it says, you want to be near your totality-watching site of choice 1-2 days before the eclipse even happens. If hotels are booked, consider a campsite.
Check out more excellent eclipse-prep tips from EarthSky here.
5. Prepare for the possibility of congested roads on eclipse day
As advised above, be in your eclipse spot 1-2 days early if you can. If you can't, be prepared for more traffic as others head west and south to see the show.
Get updated traffic information from News 13 here.
6. Get your eclipse-viewing glasses now, too
It's not safe to look at the Sun until totality (but then, stare away)! Be sure to buy your viewing glasses in advance.
7. It's on a Monday, so ask for the day off!
If you're serious about viewing totality, you'll need to plan to be at least as far west as Brevard (or in the path of totality in South Carolina) on Monday, August 21.
8. If it's cloudy, you might need to view from another spot
9. There will be weird things happening around totality
Not supernatural weird things. Just some strange natural things you can only see during a total solar eclipse.
Just before the eclipse begins, you might be able to see the moon's shadow racing toward you at over 1000 miles per hour.
Crescent-shaped shadows will form under the trees.
During totality, the brief phase of the eclipse when the sky darkens and the moon covers the Sun, you can safely take your eclipse-watching glasses off. And you want to, because during this time you can see the Sun's corona with the naked eye.
Locally, the eclipse will start at about 1 p.m., reach totality at about 2:30 (staying there for around two minutes), and be all done by 4 p.m.
See you August 21 for the "Great American Eclipse"!