FLORIDA PANHANDLE — The Aug. 21 solar eclipse will be the first visible from the Panhandle since 1979, and there won't be another one until 2045. Florida isn't in the eclipse's direct path but will still see a partial blockage of the sun.
To make the most of the experience locally, here's what you need to know.
1. What are we going to see in Holmes and Washington Counties?
We aren’t in what’s called “the path of totality,” so we aren’t going to experience that complete darkness often associated with an eclipse. That being said, NASA has calculated 85 percent of the sun will be obscured by the moon over Holmes and Washington Counties, so it will be noticeable.
The eclipse will start at 12:07 p.m. and end at 3:05 p.m. But the peak time — in other words the moment you don’t want to miss — is 1:39 p.m.
Fun fact, though: During the Aug. 12, 2045, eclipse, the Panhandle will be in the path of totality.
2. So, what are the schools doing?
Several teachers have procured viewing glasses for their students, with plans to catch at least a portion of the phenomenon — safely.
3. What will the public safety response look like?
Everything will proceed as normal, and there won’t be a reverse 911 call or extra law enforcement officers for the occasion, according to officials. Since we are not in the path of totality, total darkness during the day will not be a factor.
4. Where can I get those eclipse sunglasses?
Even during an eclipse, the normal rule of “don’t look directly at the sun” applies, but the good news is inexpensive (or even free) eclipse glasses are widely available for occasion.
The Holmes County Public Library is giving out free glasses during normal library hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday.
Washington County Library will give out a limited number of free glasses beginning at 9 a.m. on Aug. 21 at all library locations, with the exception of the Sunny Hills branch, which will offer free glasses while supplies last during the branch's normal day of operation from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Aug. 16.
The Chipley library branch will also live stream NASA's video of the event in the library meeting room. The library will offer free popcorn, as well as crafts for children too small to watch the eclipse.
The shades also can also be bought online or at some area hardware stores.
Where you get yours, your viewing glasses should bear a stamp of approval from the International Organization for Standardization and a label indicating the product meets the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Imitation products might seem legitimate but if not ISO-approved can lead to retinal damage.
Another option is to make a simple pinhole projector at home with nothing more than a box and some tape. For instructions, check out the video tutorial at chipleypaper.com
You can also experience the eclipse via NASA's live stream by going online at: eclipse2017.nasa.gov
Editor Carol Kent Wyatt contributed to this report.