One of the things that is so striking about Hatteras Island is the clear view of the sky and the feeling of wide-open space. There are no sky scrapers or late night light pollution blocking your view. In fact, on a clear day (or night), you often feel like you're standing at the edge of the Earth, staring out at all of creation.
A total solar eclipse is rare, but happens when the New Moon (a term used to describe when the Sun and Moon are aligned, with the Sun and Earth on opposite sides of the Moon) comes between the Sun and the Earth, casting the darkest part of its shadow on Earth. A total solar eclipse is almost as dark as night and the next time it is scheduled to occur is on August 21, 2017. While Hatteras Island is not on the path of total eclipse, it is very close, meaning we will see a partial eclipse, where the Moon only blocks a portion of the Sun. Where better to get a front row seat than at the edge of the Earth? While a total lunar eclipse is more common, a total solar eclipse is less so. Most calendar years have 2 solar eclipses, but the max number that can occur in one year is 5, which is extremely rare and hasn't occurred since 1935 and isn't scheduled to occur again until 2206.
Partial Eclipse in Cape Hatteras, NC
Duration: 2 hours, 46 minutes
Begins: Monday, August 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm
Maximum View: Monday, August 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm
Ends: Monday, August 21, 2017 at 4:10 pm
Remember to Utilize Safety
Eye safety is obviously an issue that needs to be taken very seriously during an eclipse. Looking directly at the Sun is always unsafe, and as we will not be experiencing a total eclipse, that is especially true here. The only safe way to look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, commonly referred to as "eclipse glasses". Polarized and regular sunglasses are not considered a safeguard while looking directly at the Sun. The American Astronomical Society has a list of credentials and reputable vendors of eclipse glasses, but if you'll be on Hatteras Island, you can visit the Hatteras Library and pick up a pair for your viewing pleasure. They are free with a library card or you can make a donation to the Hatteras Library, but please keep in mind, they are first come first serve.