August 21, 2017, 11 am – 3 pm
The Solar Eclipse is coming to Graham County and Stecoah Valley Center is in the path of totality! The partial phase will start at 1:05 pm and at approximately 2:34 pm, the valley will have 2 minutes, 35 seconds of total darkness.
With our beautiful 10-acre campus with sweeping mountain views, Stecoah Valley Center is your Natural Destination to view the Eclipse. The Center will have free admission, free glasses for the first 500 visitors, food and cold drinks for sale, educational activities and music. $5 per car parking. Event will be limited to 500 people.
August 4, 2017, 7-8 pm
Enrique. A. Gómez, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Western Carolina University will be speaking on “The Great American Eclipse of August 2017 over Graham County”.
August 11, 2017, 7-8 pm
Jim Baker, PhD will talk to us about “Capturing the Solar Eclipse” - how to capture the phenomenon on your camera and enjoy this once in a lifetime event. Both pre-eclipse events are open to the public and free of charge.
Special NASA Eclipse T-shirts will be on sale at the event.
Will Stecoah Valley Center allow coolers to be brought in?
Yes, of course, you can bring your own refreshments. Please note, Stecoah Valley Center is an alcohol-free campus so please bring family friendly beverages.
Can I bring lawn chairs, tents, and umbrellas, and grills/cookers?
Feel free to bring your own lawn chairs but due to space limitations please leave your tents, umbrellas and BBQ grills/cookers at home.
Can I bring my pets?
NO! Animals will be scared senseless by the eclipse, and you will want to be enjoying it instead of trying to calm your crazed critters. Experts tell us dogs and cats will NOT like it! Service animals, as defined by the ADA, are dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These dogs will be allowed.
Will SVC have handicap access/parking?
Yes, we will have ample handicap parking and we have handicap accessible restrooms. We will also have an accessible viewing area.
What is a total solar eclipse?
Essentially, it's when the moon moves right in front of the sun, covering it completely for a very short time. It darkens the whole sky, lets you look right at the sun (only when it's completely covered, though - you must use special solar viewing glasses (also known as "eclipse glasses") whenever the sun isn't completely eclipsed), and shows you the beautiful corona that surrounds the sun. Stars come out, the horizon glows with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops, and day turns into night. It's one of the most beautiful things you can ever see on earth.
Aren’t these pretty common?
Well, one happens about every year or every other year, somewhere on earth. However, you have to be situated in a very narrow strip of land (called the 'path of totality') if you want to see the total phase of the eclipse. Otherwise, all you see (with your eclipse glasses, of course!) is a pretty boring partial eclipse. And that strip of land is generally VERY far off the beaten path - like Mongolia, or the Sahara desert, or the ocean somewhere. Very few people (as a percentage of the overall population) have ever seen a total solar eclipse.
What happens during a total solar eclipse?
For sheer visceral impact, a total solar eclipse is not even remotely comparable to a lunar eclipse, a partial solar eclipse, or even major auroral displays. A solar totality stands alone. If you are in the right place, it creates darkness in daytime along a 70-mile-wide ribbon of Earth. The brightest stars come out in midday but not as you might presume: During totality, they appear in seasonal reverse. In summer, the winter constellations emerge; during a winter solar totality, summer’s stars appear.
And that’s not all. An uncommon mind-set takes over people when the Sun, Moon, and your spot on Earth form a perfectly straight line in space. Many observers shout and babble. Some weep. Afterward, everyone proclaims it to be the greatest spectacle they have ever beheld. Beyond that, many are speechless. (Animals also exhibit odd behavior, such as falling strangely silent.)
The experience surpasses all expectations and imaginings:
The eye sees the transition of the Moon over the Sun differently from photographs; because of under- or overexposure, a camera lens cannot capture the same range of brightness as human vision.
The delicate tendrils of the Sun’s corona splay into the surrounding sky in a manner wholly different from the way they appear in photos.
During the 10 minutes before and after totality, when the Sun is more than 80 percent eclipsed and its light arrives only from its edge, or limb, earthly colors turn richer and more saturated, while shadows become stark and oddly crisp—as if a different type of star is illuminating Earth.
As the Moon slides over the Sun, not only is light blocked in the ribbon of space, but solar heat is, too. The steady drop in temperature usually results in a haunting eclipse wind.
At 1 minute before and after totality, all white and light-color ground surfaces underfoot (sidewalks, sand, the like) suddenly exhibit shimmering shadow bands everywhere. (Think of black lines on the bottom of a swimming pool that appear to wiggle.) This eerie phenomenon can make your hair stand on end, yet it can not be captured on film. (Try it!) Recent research suggests that shadow bands are the edges of atmospheric temperature cells (air pockets) made visible by the remaining tiny point of Sun. Their motion catches the eye despite their extremely low contrast.
But how do I look at the sun without going blind?
This is a biggie. You CANNOT look at the sun while ANY PART of its bright disk is still visible. The moon does cover quite a bit of it during the partial phases leading up to totality, but you HAVE to use special solar viewing glasses (also called "eclipse glasses") to look at it during the partial phases.
You MUST use these glasses to look at the sun during this time, and if you use them correctly (according to the instructions printed on them), it's 100% safe. During the brief period of totality ONLY, when NO bright part of the sun is showing, you can look directly at the totally eclipsed sun without any kind of filters, and you will not believe the sight. In fact, during totality ONLY, you can even look with binoculars if you want.
The view is simply stunning. BUT, IMMEDIATELY after totality, (as soon as you see the really bright diamond ring effect again, when the bright part of the sun returns to view), the glasses have to come back on. To repeat: You MUST use the eclipse glasses whenever the sun is not TOTALLY eclipsed - whenever ANY bright piece of it is visible. No matter what "eclipse times" you may get off the Internet, or out of any books or magazines.
And you CAN look directly at the sun without the glasses ONLY during the very brief time when the sun is in total eclipse (that is, if you're in the path of totality!). It's only a minute or two at the most, but the memory of it will last your lifetime. If you're not in the path of totality, you have to use the glasses for the ENTIRE eclipse, and you will not see any of the cool things during totality that will amaze you. You might as well stay at work, see the pictures in the paper the next day, and go away wondering what all the fuss was about.
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