Cline Observatory Director Teaches Greensboro Solar Eclipse Lingo

Published on: August 15, 2017
GTCC Solar Eclipse Glasses
GTCC Solar Eclipse Glasses

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The countdown is on...the biggest 'skytacular' event of our lifetime, a total solar eclipse will happen on Monday, August 21.

In order to enjoy and speak intelligently about a major event you have to know the lingo, right? To help with the eclipse we left it to a professional...Tom English, Director of the Cline Observatory at Guilford Technical Community College.

Here are terms he said everyone should know as it relates an eclipse:

  • Photosphere- The shiny layer of gas you see when you look at the sun.
  • Chromosphere- A reddish gaseous layer immediately above the photosphere of the sun that will peak out during the eclipse.
  • Corona- Like a crown, the corona is made of light streams that surround the sun.
  • First contact- The eclipse starts.
  • Second contact- The total eclipse starts.
  • Third contact- The total eclipse ends.
  • Fourth contact- The eclipse is over.
  • Baily's beads- Right before the moon is about to block the sun, the shimmering of bright specks is called Baily's beads.
  • Diamond ring- The last bit of sunlight you see right before totality. It looks like one bright spot (the diamond) and the corona (the ring).
  • Totality- When the moon blocks the sun.

English says that to view the eclipse, you will need to wear eclipse sunglasses that are safe for direct solar viewing, certified by the British Standards Institute and meet the requirements for ISO.

For rabid sky watchers, the Cline Observatory hosts public viewing events every Friday after sunset. The viewings are free of cost.

The observatory will not be open on eclipse day, as staff will be in Columbia, S.C., the closest point to North Carolina in the path of totality, viewing the eclipse.

Read the full story here.

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