A local amateur astronomer spoke to First Alert Meteorologist Mike Buresh about the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.
"For a total solar eclipse, it has to happen when the moon is between the sun and earth," Greg Sauve said. "We have to be along the right plane. And there are actually two nodes and which you want to be is the ascending node. The moon, the sun and earth are lined up and the moon is at a path that is 5 degrees off from the ecliptic, which we call the equator in the sky. So that's the path that the moon follows as well as the planets."
Sauve said the first time someone sees a total solar eclipse can be a little shocking.
"You're a little bit shocked at what you're seeing for the first time," he said. "A lot of the people that are there for the first time are -- unbelievable. They're in awe when they see the total solar eclipse of earth."
Sauve said people shouldn't look or take photos of the eclipse without some type of solar equipment.
"You point them toward the sun, you're going to ruin some essentials in your camera. iPhones, same thing," he said. "You want to have some type of solar equipment so that you don't ruin your camera."
He said it's also important to view the eclipse with a solar glasses or a filter.
He made his own solar filters using sheets he bought on Amazon.
"What I did was went to Home Depot and I got some PCV reducer pipe and also got some PCV pipe and got some solar filters from Amazon," he said. "A sheet like this is about $20. It's an 8 by 8 inch and it was real easy to make the filters."
Sauve said the total solar eclipse will have five stages.
"The first stage is first contact. And you have the same with partial and that's when the moon starts touching the sun. And as you're going on, you reach third contact when you get the diamond ring. The diamond ring you will not see that in Jacksonville and it's one of three phases. And here we're going from first contact, second contact, totality and then you're at the fourth contact and that means the moon has cleared the sun."
First contact starts at 1:16 p.m. with totality at 2:39 p.m., Sauve said. He said the best place to view the eclipse will be in South Carolina, but be prepared for traffic.
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