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Middle Tenn. to get 95% coverage during April 8 solar eclipse

A partial solar eclipse is making its way to Middle Tennessee on Monday, April 8, starting in South Cheatham around 12:44 p.m. and ending at 3:20 p.m., with maximum coverage – about 95% – at 2:03 p.m.


A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. 


People viewing the eclipse from locations where the moon’s shadow completely covers the sun will see a total solar eclipse. People along the path of totality will see the Sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, which is normally hidden by the Sun's brighter surface.


The stages of a total solar eclipse include: partial eclipse, shadow bands, Baily's Beads, Diamond Ring, and totality. The totality stage is the only time observers can safely view the eclipse with the naked eye.


Total solar eclipses are rare, happening roughly once every 360 to 410 years in any individual location. South Cheatham County last experienced a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. 


This year, Middle Tennessee will experience a partial eclipse – which is much more common. A small portion of West Tennessee is in the path of the total eclipse. Two of Tennessee's neighboring states – Kentucky and Arkansas – are also included in the eclipse's path.


How to watch the eclipse locally


To safely view the eclipse in South Cheatham, you will need special eyewear. 


School will still take place on April 8, and the district has announced it will not offer viewing opportunities for the students. Should they wish to do so that day, parents will be given an admin day to check their students out. 


“As the county continues to get updates, legally, they do not feel comfortable with having our students outside during the eclipse on Monday, April 8. They have been advised against doing so,” Kingston Springs Elementary School wrote on its Facebook page. “Our Solar Eclipse picnic has been canceled, and all students will remain inside during the eclipse. We will livestream the event for our students to participate safely. Any families desiring to check their students out for the eclipse will be given an admin day to do so.” 


Photo credits to Harpeth River State Park

Harpeth River State Park is hosting viewings from noon to 2 p.m. at both Mound Bottom and Hidden Lake. While both of these events are sold out, the community is invited to bring their own protective eyeglasses and set up blankets and chairs to view the eclipse in any of our local parks.


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