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Posted 8/10/2017

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Carters Lake offers eclipse viewing program

By John Barker, Mobile District public affairs specialist

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, will be hosting an eclipse-viewing program at Carters Lake in Murray County, Ga., Aug. 21. Northbank Park, located within Carters Lake recreation area, will offer an unobstructed view of the eclipse over the lake.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the community,” said Miriam Fleming, operations project manager. “It also gives us the opportunity to introduce our community to the scientific principles of astronomy. Somewhere in that group of participants may be the project’s future park ranger, power plant operator or even operations project manager.”

Carters Lake Park Ranger Allen Earhart will be one of the rangers on-hand to answer questions.

“Visitors attending the eclipse program will be loaned special eclipse-viewing glasses to safely experience this magnificent event,” said Earhart. “Rangers will have an interpretative display with information on the eclipse and be available to assist with any questions."

“This is the last time a total solar eclipse will cross the United States for a number of years, so you want to know what to expect and how to see it,” he said. “From Northbank Park, visitors will be able to view the solar eclipse at 0.99 magnitude.”

The magnitude of the eclipse is the percentage of the sun that will be covered by the moon. During a partial or annular eclipse, the magnitude of the eclipse is always between 0.0 and 1.0, while during a total eclipse the magnitude is always at least 1.0

The first contact time is the exact moment that the lunar disk touches the solar disk in the sky. The contact times are known as C1, C2, C3 and C4. The moon will then continue to cover the sun, taking about an hour to cover it completely, which is contact time C2. After about two minutes, depending on how close to the center of the moon's shadow you are, the sun bursts back out at C3. Contact time C4 is about an hour later, the moment the moon reveals the sun completely again.

At Northbank Park, the start of the eclipse, or contact time C1, will begin at 1:04 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or EST. That will be followed by the maximum eclipse, at 2:34 p.m. EST. The end of the eclipse, or contact time C4, will be at 3:59 p.m. EST.

Carters Lake is located in the North Georgia mountains, midway between Atlanta and Chattanooga at 1915 Carters Dam Road, Chatsworth, Ga., 30705. The lake offers 65 miles of undeveloped shoreline surrounding 3,200 acres of water. For more information on the eclipse program or Carters Lake recreation, call 706-334-2248.