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How to Safely Watch the Eclipse

Tuesday April 2, 2024

Reading Time: 10 minutes

As we approach April 8, anticipation grows for one of nature’s most awe-inspiring events – a solar eclipse. This celestial spectacle will grace the skies over Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, offering a unique spectacle for a large swath of North America.

While Nashville was in the path of totality during the 2017 eclipse, this year, residents and visitors will witness a partial eclipse, covering approximately 95% of the sun. You must understand the science behind this celestial event and how to observe it safely, whether you plan to stay in the Metro Nashville region or travel a little bit farther west.

The Science Behind a Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves directly between the Earth and the sun, completely obscuring the sun from view and casting a shadow over specific areas on Earth. This phenomenon creates a moment of daytime darkness, allowing observers in the path of totality to experience a dramatic change in the environment. Temperatures drop, stars become visible and the sun’s outer atmosphere glows in a breathtaking display.

In contrast, a partial solar eclipse happens when the Earth, moon and sun do not fully align. For observers outside the path of totality, the moon will only cover part of the sun’s disk, making it resemble a cookie with a bite taken out of it. In Nashville, with about 94.92% coverage, the eclipse will still dim the daylight significantly, offering a remarkable sight.

The 2024 Great North American eclipse will last twice as long as the one in 2017. Most people in the path of totality will be in the moon’s shadow for three and a half to four minutes. In Nashville, the partial solar eclipse will start around 12:44 p.m. and end at 3:20 p.m., with maximum coverage at 2:03 p.m.

The Phases of a Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse occurs in five distinct stages.

  1. Partial eclipse: The event begins when the moon starts to move in front of the sun, gradually covering its disk. This phase can last for over an hour. Observers will see the moon slowly obscuring the sun until it resembles a crescent. You must wear specially designed eclipse glasses during this phase to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays.
  2. Shadow bands: Just before totality, you may glimpse shadow bands – elusive, thin, wavy lines of alternating light and dark moving across the ground. Shadow bands result from Earth’s atmosphere refracting the sun’s light, like the reflections at the bottom of a swimming pool. They are fleeting and require clear, flat surfaces to see properly.
  3. Baily’s Beads: As the moon continues to move across the sun, the rugged lunar landscape allows sunlight to pass through in some places but not others. The result is Baily’s Beads, named after Francis Baily, who first described them in 1836. These beads of light appear around the moon’s edge and are the last glimpses of sunlight before totality.
  4. Diamond Ring: The Diamond Ring effect is one of the most dramatic phenomena of a total solar eclipse. Just before totality, Baily’s Beads reduce to a single point, creating the appearance of a bright diamond set against a ring of light. This spectacular sight signals that totality is only seconds away. You must keep your eclipse glasses on until the diamond disappears and totality begins.
  5. Totality: Totality occurs when the moon completely obscures the sun, plunging the day into an eerie twilight. This phase is the only time when it is safe to remove your eclipse glasses and observe the spectacle with the naked eye. The sun’s corona, its outer atmosphere, becomes visible as a glowing ring around the moon’s dark silhouette. You may also see stars and planets in the darkened sky. Expect to notice a drop in temperature and a sudden hush in bird and insect noises as the natural world reacts to the sudden darkness. Once the moon begins to move away and the first flash of sunlight reappears, put your eclipse glasses back on to safely watch the remaining phases of the eclipse as they happen in reverse order.

Safety Tips for the Great North American Eclipse

Looking directly at the sun outside the few minutes of totality can permanently damage your eyes. The intense solar rays can burn your retinas, leading to solar retinopathy, a condition that can result in blurred vision or even permanent blindness. This risk is present even in a partial eclipse, as the remaining crescent of sunlight is still intense enough to cause harm.

To safely watch the eclipse, you need specialized glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. These glasses block out more than 99.999% of the sun’s rays, allowing you to view the spectacular sight without adversely affecting your vision. Remember, your standard sunglasses are not sufficient to protect your eyes from solar retinopathy, even if they have a UV-blocking coating. If you don’t have ISO-certified eclipse glasses, consider watching the eclipse through a pinhole projector or a telescope equipped with a solar filter.

Totality reveals the solar eclipse’s majesty, offering a breathtaking spectacle that can be profoundly moving and unforgettable. As April 8 approaches, prepare to witness Nashville’s partial eclipse safely and enjoy an event so rare it won’t happen again for another 20 years. Whether you’re an experienced astronomy enthusiast or a curious first-time observer, the solar eclipse offers a moment of connection with the cosmos, reminding us all of the wonders beyond our world.

Reading Time: 14 minutes

Black Lives Matter: Nashville

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have sparked protests across America, with some of the most notable taking place in Nashville, Tennessee. Through marches, phone calls, and petitions, Tennesseans have called for legislators to enact meaningful change in the form of public policy. As Nashville responds to Black Lives Matter, we want to keep you abreast of developments in local protests, recent rulings, and ways to get involved.

Unaffiliated Looting and Arson

Nashville has been home to some of the most well-documented protests of the past several weeks. For example, a peaceful demonstration on May 31st gave way to looting and vandalism at the Metro Courthouse, prompting Mayor John Cooper to declare a state of civil emergency. The days following saw 10 p.m. curfews, along with the arrest of 25-year-old Wesley Somers in connection with fires lit at the courthouse.

The Equity Alliance, one of the “I Will Breathe” rally organizers, tweeted, “We witnessed white people defacing public property while marching and told them to stop. The people attempting to set fire to the Metro Courthouse right now are NOT associated with today’s peaceful protest rally… It is our firm belief that those individuals defacing and destroying public property after the rally were not part of the original event.”

Nashville police tried to identify the individuals associated with acts of vandalism, whom they say hijacked the demonstration and used it “as a cover for the destruction they wanted to employ.” Police spokesman Don Aaron said that the Nashville Police Department suspects that white supremacist groups could have been involved, although it is too early to know for sure.

Mayor Cooper voiced his support of the afternoon’s demonstration, tweeting that the rally was peaceful and adding that, “We cannot let today’s message of reform descend into further violence. If you mean our city harm, go home.”

Six Teen Girls Organize Peaceful Protest

Fortunately, the demonstrations that followed have not been marred by outside influence or acts of violence. A particularly bright spot in recent news is last Thursday’s Black Lives Matter protest, which was organized by a group of six teen girls. Nya Collins, Zee Thomas, Emma Rose Smith, Kennedy Green, Jade Fuller, and Mikayla Smith – all students ranging in age from 14 to 16 – took just five days to organize the June 4th demonstration.

“We felt like we needed to do more, because change is not going to just happen overnight. We’re teens and we weren’t seeing any youth speaking up because they didn’t feel like they have a voice,” said Emma Rose, 15, a sophomore from Franklin, TN. “We wanted to show teenagers and youth that we need you guys and we do have a voice.”

Emma Rose and the other organizers met on Twitter and formed a group called Teens4Equality. Through a group text thread, the girls coordinated and spread the word, reaching out to other organizations and sharing flyers to social media. They met for the first time on the day of the march, which they hoped would attract at least 1,000 attendees.

More than 10,000 Nashvillians marched alongside them.

In an interview with Good Morning America, the teens emphasized that the demonstration was peaceful and featured people of all ages, races, and backgrounds, just as they had hoped. Their Instagram account has accrued more than 20,000 followers, and the girls are planning a second march for next month.

Nashville Police to Wear Body Cameras

These protests and calls for action have created real results. In an announcement this week, Mayor Cooper told the public that Nashville will begin to outfit Metro police officers with body-worn cameras.

“Since campaigning for office, I have supported body-worn cameras in Nashville and the need to invest in this vital technology the right way. We are delivering on that commitment today, and we are doing it in a cost responsible way.”

The cameras will be deployed beginning this July in Nashville’s West Precinct, with 86 body-worn cameras and 65 patrol car cams, which will provide additional views of incident response. Currently, the West Precinct is the only location with the IT capabilities to support this new tech; the mayor’s office hopes to update other precincts’ infrastructure as soon as possible. The deadline to implementation? Six months from now.

District Attorney General Glenn Funk praised Mayor Cooper for prioritizing this project, stating, “Body cameras will promote trust and accountability for law enforcement and the people of Nashville… These efforts will lead to a safer Nashville.”

Black Lives Matter Leads to Legislation, Other Changes

Fortunately, there appears to be even more legislation in the works. The George Floyd Act (HB2291) would change the way that officers use (or threaten) to use physical, deadly, and excessive force in the line of duty. The bill includes the ban of chokeholds and requires officers to give a verbal warning before firing a weapon, among other provisions. “We need to enact them not later, but right now. The people are crying out for action and that’s what they should get,” said State Representative Mike Stewart.

There have also been calls for the city follow in the footsteps of Chicago and Boston to hire a chief diversity officer. However, Mayor Cooper has not indicated whether this hire will be made. Citing budgetary concerns due to the tornado and the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor said, “Everyone recognizes that this budget is not accomplishing what we all went into local government trying to do. Unfortunately, this budget is to get us through… the dramatic loss in revenue.”

Nashville, Get Involved

If you’re looking to get involved with Nashville’s Black Lives Matter movement, there are quite a few ways to do so.

Take to the Streets! Join a peaceful protest whenever you’re able. The girls at Teens4Equality are planning another protest on Independence Day: July 4th. They’ll be providing voter registration, snacks, and water at Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park. There are other gatherings taking place. To learn more about upcoming events…

Stay Updated. Follow Black Lives Matter – Nashville on social media or their website. They will be affiliated with all official acts of peaceful protest, and are a great source of information for local action.

Volunteer Locally. Gideon’s Army is a grassroots organization based in Nashville that seeks to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline through social activism. Their programs address youth violence, policing, and juvenile justice, as well as local problems disproportionately affecting the Black community. This March, they led tornado relief efforts for the North Nashville neighborhood, which saw far less volunteer turnout than Germantown or East Nashville. They have virtual trainings available now – donate today, or join them for a multitude of impactful volunteer opportunities.

Donate to Bail Funds. In this time of historic public demonstration, online fundraising is key. When protestors are arrested, donations to a local bail fund can help demonstrators to go home and plan their defense before trial. The Nashville Community Bail Fund is now accepting donations via PayPal.

Be Mindful of Where You Shop. It’s important to know where your money is going. National and local businesses have taken a stance on Black Lives Matter; after recent racist tweets from owner Jeremy Palmer, the Corner Pub in Green Hills has seen social media backlash, boycotts, and the dissolution of a business partnership. In the complete opposite vein, most local businesses have come out in support of the cause. The Mac Shack, Bryan Lee Weaver (owner of Butcher & Bee), Chopper Tiki, and many others have released statements in support of #BLM. East Nashville favorite Dino’s has also shared a list of Black-owned restaurants to visit. Be intentional of where you’re spending your money during this time.

Educate Yourself on the Issues. Be a better ally by educating yourself on the history of racism in America, along with the issues currently faced by the Black community. This can take the form of reading pivotal works, watching documentaries, and even diversifying your social media feeds. Great Big Story has compiled a helpful guide to this process.

Webconsuls is a full-service digital marketing agency with offices in Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA.

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Life in the Time of COVID-19 (& Also Tornadoes)

We’ve come a long way since March.

First, let’s acknowledge that in the past few months, we’ve had our lives turned completely upside-down. People all across the globe have dealt with strict “safer at home” orders, the sudden need to homeschool, and the abrupt closure of beloved establishments, among other unprecedented stressors.

In Nashville, things have been particularly tough. On the night of March 2nd, a deadly tornado outbreak affected Middle and West Tennessee. In storms ranging up to EF3 and EF4 ratings, 25 people were killed, 300 injured, and more than 70,000 lost power. As local businesses and residents in East Nashville, Germantown, North Nashville, and Donelson worked to bounce back from the destruction, coronavirus set in.

When you lay it all out like that, things may seem overwhelmingly bad. The devastation caused by not one, but two major events has definitely challenged our state and its residents. However, this is exactly when good news becomes important.

Finding the Silver Lining

Bad news isn’t just upsetting – it can be detrimental to your mental health. In their recommendations for daily life and coping during COVID-19, the CDC recommends moderating your media diet. They state that watching, reading, or listening to news stories (even on social media) can be upsetting, triggering feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s not uncommon to develop concerns about protecting oneself or one’s family from the virus, or to feel distressed by the statistics surrounding coronavirus.

However, it’s important to remember that even as negative news events gain widespread coverage, acts of human kindness are everywhere – especially in the state of Tennessee. Many of us have personally witnessed these ourselves, whether in the form of volunteers sewing masks or friends picking up groceries for elderly neighbors. In these weird and wild times, there’s something comforting about the Volunteer State living up to its name.

In honor of Mental Health Month and Nashville’s volunteer spirit, we’ve compiled some of our favorite uplifting stories of human kindness during COVID-19. We hope they inspire you to believe in a brighter future for all of us.

Nashville Tornado Relief Efforts Continue

While sympathetic hugs or politician’s handshakes are now out of the question, tornado relief efforts have continued in spite of COVID-19. More than 500 people were accommodated in hotel rooms provided by the Red Cross, since mass shelters were not an option, and they have been fed catered meals delivered to the hotels (instead of at a large kitchen). Other volunteer organizations are making similar accommodations, restricting the number of people on a job site to the bare essentials. While logistics have gotten more complicated, volunteers continue to work hard to help their fellow Tennesseans to recover.

Support from Public Figures

Celebrities have gotten in on the relief efforts too. Country star Brad Paisley and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have opened The Store, a free grocery open to those in need. The goal of this nonprofit is to enable food-insecure Tennesseans to shop for groceries with dignity and respect. Volunteers, interns, and staff have mobilized in the face of COVID-19, delivering food to high-risk elderly residents in affected communities.

Similarly, Oprah Winfrey has sought to support Nashvillians, particularly those in poor minority communities who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. She has called Nashville her foundation, donating $2 million to provide immediate food relief to underserved communities.

Drive-Through Graduations

In lieu of traditional cap and gown ceremonies, Nashville-area schools have transitioned to drive-through graduations for high school seniors, middle school graduates, and even younger children. For all, this event marks an incredible milestone that should be celebrated by other students, parents, and members of the community. A video of Pearl Cohn student Dontrail Spencer’s emotional graduation ceremony has gone viral, and for good reason – it demonstrates just how important these parades can be.

A Semi Truck Dumped Like 40,000 Pounds of Mac & Cheese on I-24

This one is more of a side note. Is this technically good news or a story of human kindness? No. Did this ridiculous headline make us laugh? Yes.

Photographer Raises Money for Nashville Humane

Local photographer Wendy Jo O’Barr has begun offering pet portraits to raise money for the Nashville Humane Association during COVID-19. Her professional photographs are taken from a safe distance, but they capture the unique personality of each animal – and raise funds for those in need.

Running Errands for High-Risk Neighbors

East Nashvillian Sarah Townsend Smith posted on social media asking for high-risk neighbors to email her with any errands they needed done. She received an outpouring of support from others who wanted to help pick up groceries and prescriptions for those in need. Today, she’s connecting high-risk individuals with a large pool of volunteers, making a difference in countless lives each day.

Brighter Days Ahead for Nashville, TN

Whatever your experience during the coronavirus outbreak, we hope you’re safe and able to seek out good news like the stories above. These are just a few of our notable mentions – there are countless more… you just have to look for the silver lining.


Webconsuls is a full-service digital marketing agency with offices in Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA.