Get ready for a rare spectacle in the sky

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In about two weeks, something will happen in the sky that hasn’t happened in decades, the moon will totally eclipse the sun over North America.

While an annular eclipse passed over Picayune in 1984, this eclipse will be a bit different. First it will be a total eclipse in various areas of the country. Second, in Pearl River County we will still see a sliver of the sun on Aug. 21, the rest will be covered by the moon.

The event is expected to start that day at about noon, and last until just before 3 p.m., according to information from Mississippi State University.

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The maximum eclipse in our area will be viewable just before 1:30 p.m.

If you can get the time off of work, you may want to travel to a place where the total eclipse can be seen. But if you’re like me and can’t drop everything to look at the sky for a day, you can still see a pretty good show here in Mississippi.

MSU is holding a daylong event that will feature free viewing glasses to the first 1,000 visitors and entertainment.

Those glasses will be important. Even if you can’t go to MSU or some other event that will provide the glasses, you will need to prepare so you will have proper eye protection.

That’s because if you look directly at the sun, even during an eclipse, you run the risk of damaging your eyes. The American Astronbomical Society recommends using glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standard.

In order to procure a pair of glasses, or similar viewing apparatus, you may need to order them from a website. However, ensure you buy only from reputable sellers. Reports of counterfeit glasses bearing the ISO 12312-2 compliant badge have been circulating.

For a list of reputable products and sellers, visit