ATLANTA, GA — In less than two weeks, the daytime skies of north Georgia will go dark, marking the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States in 38 years.

It will be the first time in nearly 100 years such an eclipse has stretched from coast to coast, with a sliver of the peak viewing area stretching through a patch of Georgia just north of metro Atlanta.

Here’s everything you need to know about the eclipse in metro Atlanta, including what time it happens, the weather forecast, safety tips, where you can get special glasses, and more.

When Will It Happen?

The shadow of the moon will first touch Georgia at 2:34 p.m. on August 21 and leave the state at 2:40 p.m. The shadow of the moon passes by quickly, at about 1,800 miles per hour, according to NASA.

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Where Are The Best Places To Watch?

Metro Atlanta is roughly 40-80 miles outside the center-line NASA describes at the absolute peak area for the eclipse. That means that, wherever you are in the area, you’re going to get a pretty good dose of darkness on the 21st.

But if you’re looking for the ultimate eclipse experience, a quick drive north will be in order.

Georgia’s best eclipse spot is Rabun County — about a two-hour drive from downtown Atlanta.

In Rabun County, which sits along the state lines with both North Carolina and South Carolina, the total eclipse will begin at 2:35 p.m. and last for two minutes and 40 seconds. The county has planned several special events to celebrate the day.

At Tallulah Gorge State Park, there will be a Solar Eclipse Festival from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Special events also are planned at other Georgia state parks in or near the totality.

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Sky Valley County Club in Rabun County plans an Eclipse Golf Tournament and 19th Hole Festivities, Andy’s Trout Farm will host Fishin’ In The Dark and other Rabun County events will include live bluegrass music, age-appropriate eclipse lectures a 5K run and more.

If you’d rather stay closer to home, there will be plenty of ways to enjoy the still-visible eclipse in Atlanta, too.

  • Fernbank Science Center is hosting a Great American Eclipse event that includes solar-filtered telescopes and programs throughout the day, including live streaming of the eclipse as it happens across the country.
  • Planned activities at Georgia Tech, in midtown Atlanta, include handing out free eclipse glasses. There also will be live-streaming from the Georgia Tech Observatory and hands-on events throughout the day — which also happens to be the first day of Tech’s fall semester.
  • Downtown, Georgia State will have astronomers posted in several locations to explain and discuss the event. In addition to attending an official NASA viewing party in Rabun County, they’ll be at three spots on the downtown campus and in the quad area at the Decatur campus.
  • And over in Athens, the University of Georgia will be hosting an eclipse-viewing event in Sanford Stadium. Eclipse Blackout 2017 is hosted by the schools geography department.
  • Children’s Museum of Atlanta will have eclipse programs from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., including a mini-musical and science show.

What Will Weather Be Like For The Eclipse?

We will, of course have a better idea of what weather will be like on the 21st as it gets closer. But, as for right now, the extended forecast suggests clouds and storms are possible.

AccuWeather’s 15-day forecast says Atlanta should see a high temperature of 84 on August 21, with a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms. Keep this post handy — we’ll update weather forecasts for the day of the solar eclipse as it draws nearer.

What should I know about safety during the eclipse?
Even during an eclipse, you should never, ever, ever look at the sun directly, as it will cause permanent damage to your eyes. The only exception is the few moments when the sun is completely covered by the moon in the “band of totality.”
To be clear, while a sliver of north Georgia is in that totality, metro Atlanta isn’t. (We’ll be awfully close though, checking in at more than 90 percent in most of the area).

Special glasses are available to view the sun during the eclipse. Only use those, or a pinhole projector, to view the solar eclipse.

Where can I get these special glasses?

Glasses will be handed out for free at many of the special events listed above. As noted, you should never stare directly at the sun, even during the eclipse, without those glasses.

The American Astronomical Society has posted a list of vendors that are approved to produce eclipse glasses.This is important, because NASA says some companies are flooding the market with fake eclipse glasses that won’t work properly.

Once informed, if you’d like to just order them, they’re available on Amazon for about $15 each.


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Image via NASA

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