Local Experts Rave With Eclipse Excitement

Monday, August 21st 2017, 8:01 am
By: News 9

News 9 meteorologist Robyn King spoke with local experts to find out why today's particular eclipse is so special.

"They are extremely rare," said Tom Arnold, Planetarium Director, Science Museum Oklahoma. "There's no single site on the face of the earth gets more than one of these every 365 years."

A total solar eclipse is something the country hasn't seen in almost a century.

"There are actually three types of eclipses," said Dr. David Stapleton, University of Central Oklahoma professor, College of Math & Science, "and what makes this one so rare is that it is the first total solar eclipse to cross from coast to coast since 1918."

The moon will pass between the sun and earth as the shadow races across the country at an average speed of about 1,500 mph. The path of totality will span about 70 miles wide. Starting on the west coast and ending on the east, the eclipse will pass directly through Nebraska and into Missouri. But if you don't feel like hopping in the car for a road trip, Oklahoma will still have a rare sight to see.

"We'll have about 85 percent coverage of the sun here in Oklahoma during the eclipse," Arnold said, "and that will occur around 1:07 in the afternoon."

It's no secret you should never look directly at the sun but it's no safer to look at the sun during an eclipse. Oklahoma won't experience a full eclipse today, meaning the sun will still be visible.

"Even though it is a small portion of the sun," Stapleton said, "only about 16 percent is still showing. It will burn your eyes very quickly."