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Total eclipse: Consider thisTell North Platte what you think

If you’re wondering what makes the upcoming total eclipse different from eclipses that you might have seen before, consider this:

• Yes, you’ve never seen anything like it. According to one database, the year 310 AD was the last time the confluence of the North Platte and South Platte rivers experienced a total solar eclipse.

• The temperature could drop 10-15 degrees during the eclipse. A drop of 15 degrees occured in Zambia in 2001. A drop of half the normal temp change between day and night is possible, according to NASA. If the wind is blowing, it will feel like more.

• As the totality arrives and the air turns chilly, stillness will cover the land. Birds will roost and animals will bed down.

• The last flicker of sunlight reflecting through the atmosphere will cause eerie shadows and shapes to appear that are never seen otherwise.

• The sun will go dark shortly before 1 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time, on Aug. 21. The sun will be at the midpoint of the sky. If it weren’t for the daylight savings time that man created, the eclipse would occur just before noon, recalling the poetic phrase – “darkness at the break of noon.”

• When totality arrives, the final shadow of darkness will fly across the land at nearly 1,500 miles an hour. When totality arrives, the brightest stars will appear in the sky. In towns, streetlights will switch on.

• The sun’s vast corona of gases can be seen above. The corona spreads into space around the “black hole sun.” The corona cannot be seen otherwise.

For two-and-a-half minutes in the center path at Tryon and Stapleton, you will be able to see the sky and the land in ways you’ve not seen before.

This will be the first total eclipse in 63 years to be visible in Nebraska. That eclipse in 1954 occurred near dawn, and was only visible in the far northeastern part of the state.

After this eclipse, Nebraskans won’t experience another total solar eclipse for nearly 90 years -- until May 3, 2106.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 8/9/2017
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