For first time in 575 years, total solar eclipse will be visible -

For first time in 575 years, total solar eclipse will be visible in STL area

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Credit: NASA Credit: NASA
ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

For the first time since 1442, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the St. Louis area.

The total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, which will cast a short shadow on the Earth. Some experts compare the darkness to a night with a full moon. However, the length of the shadow's presence and the start time for the eclipse will vary depending on location.  It will happen on August 21, 2017.

Community leaders in towns like St. Clair and De Soto, where the viewing time is the longest in the area at 2 minutes and 40 seconds, are already planning to be bombarded with thousands of tourists.

“Get ready for it and plan because it’s going to get crazy in town. We’re seeing lots of issues with traffic, booking rooms, and of course, parties being planned,” said Don Ficken, St. Louis Eclipse Task Force. 

Some experts estimate as many as a million people will travel to see the eclipse.

“I know people coming to the U.S. from Germany and France and Australia. There are eclipse chasers out there, it is their job,” said Anna Green, Planetarium manager at the St. Louis Science Center.

There is so much interest in the astronomical event, the museum opened a new exhibit to teach kids about it. Special viewing glasses are also being sold at the Science Center.

“Because the sun is so bright is can severely damage your eyes and actually cause blindness,” said Green. They are warning people that it is only safe to look up without glasses when the moon is completely blocking the sun.

The St. Louis Eclipse Task Force is doing what it can to get special viewing glasses in the hands of kids. They’ve ordered and delivered tens of thousands of glasses to area schools, with as many as 55,000 already requested. For more information on how schools can request the glasses and donors can contribute to “Eclipse Glasses for Schools Program,” visit their website at 

Even without looking into the sky, you will notice the effects of the eclipse around you. 

“It is going to get quite dark. If you are in area of totality, the brightest stars and planets will be able to be seen in the middle of the day,” said Green. 
Animals will notice, too. 

“They start to act like it’s nighttime. So birds will come to roost. If you have dogs, you will notice they will start to settle down like it’s time to go to bed. The birds’ songs will change. They will start to sing evening songs sometimes,” said Green.

Acccording to NASA, the temperature can even drop by as much as 25 degrees before the sun returns from behind the moon. 
The extent of the eclipse will drastically vary, depending on location.  For instance, in downtown St. Louis, the eclipse will occur around 11:18 a.m, but it won't be a full eclipse. The best viewing will be south of St. Louis. For a full list click here.

Google and UC Berkeley created a simulator to predict the times of each eclipse stage.

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