WHAT TO EXPECT: Total solar eclipse on August 21 - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

WHAT TO EXPECT: Total solar eclipse on August 21

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Eau Claire (WQOW) -

On August 21, you may want to head outside during your lunch break to catch the 2017 total solar eclipse.

Stormtracker 18 Weather said there are three different types of solar eclipses, including total, annular and partial. There is also a hybrid solar eclipse, which is a blend of annular and total.

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon completely covers the sun, blocking the sun's light. The moon is between the sun and Earth. A partial eclipse means a part of the sun will be covered by the moon. An annular solar eclipse means as the moon passes in front of the sun, a ring of sunlight is visible around the moon; this occurs because at the time of eclipse, the apparent size of the moon is smaller.

The event on August 21 will a total solar eclipse and will be the first time it's casting a full shadow across the entire U.S. since 1918.

In Eau Claire, it will appear as a partial eclipse with 82 percent of the sun covered. The eclipse will occur between 11:47 a.m. and 2:32 p.m. with the maximum eclipse around 1:10 p.m.

Stormtracker 18 Weather said it will get gradually darker until 1:10 p.m. and then gradually lighten. In the path of totality, stars and planets will be visible!

News 18's chief meteorologist Nick Grunseth said the last total solar eclipse that occurred on Earth was March 9, 2016. The eclipse was only visible over Indonesia and some Pacific Islands. He said the last total solar eclipse that occurred in part of the lower 48 was on February 26, 1979, where it totaled over Washington, Montana and part of North Dakota.

If you're wondering when the next total solar eclipse will happen across the entire continental U.S., you'll have to wait a couple more years. On April 8, 2024, the path of totality will be from Texas through the Ohio River Valley. Coverage of the sun in Eau Claire will be about 78 percent.

Grunseth said the next time Eau Claire will be in a total solar eclipse, where the sun will be 100 percent covered, is September 14, 2099 at 10:45 a.m. It'll last four minutes and 17 seconds.

Getting the best view of the eclipse on August 21 depends on where you are on the eclipse trail.

On Tuesday, News 18 spoke with Paul Thomas, a professor in Physics and Astronomy at UW-Eau Claire. "We're north of the eclipse trail so from our point of view, the sun won't be completely covered. We are going to see the moon's shadow, or the moon move in front of the sun," Thomas said.

Thomas said, if you plan on viewing the eclipse, it's important to have certified eye wear to protect your eyes. He said it's best to order eye wear now, or attend one of the multiple eclipse showings around the Chippewa Valley. Many will provide glasses and telescopes so you can get the best glimpse of the shadow.

The University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire will be hosting an event on their campus to see the eclipse. The Eau Claire Children's Museum and Beaver Creek Reserve will also be hosting viewing events. 

The Eau Claire Children's Museum will be selling 100 certified glasses for the solar eclipse viewing at their shop.

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