Total eclipse will travel over Kansas for six minutes

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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Come August 21, no matter where you are in Kansas, you will see at least a partial eclipse. But if you want to experience the total solar eclipse, you might have to drive to witness it.

The closer we get to what's being called the Great American Eclipse, the more excited people are becoming.

"We've been waiting for this for 38 years, and so that's why it's a big deal," said Greg Novacek, a Physics and Astronomy Educator for Wichita State University.

The path of the total eclipse will travel 2,500 miles from Oregon to South Carolina, and it will happen fast.

It will take just 94 minutes to go from coast to coast.

In Kansas, the total eclipse will cross the northeast corner for the state for six minutes, starting around 1:03 p.m. and ending at 1:09 p.m.

A 70 mile wide area will experience the total eclipse. The center will last about 2 minutes 30 seconds. When that happens, towns like Hiawatha and Atchison will go dark.

"The skies get dark, the birds start chirping, animals kind of go crazy because it's one o'clock in the afternoon and the sky is dark. That's not supposed to happen. So it's all those sensory things coming in," said Novacek.

Those outside the shaded area will still see the eclipse, just not 100 percent. That partial eclipse will last a few hours.

Wichita will see about 93 percent of the eclipse. The showing will be good but very different from seeing it at 100 percent.

Novacek knows, he traveled to Canada to see the last one in the late 70's.

"As a friend of mine told me last week, it's like the winning quarterback of your football team making a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl, and the difference between totality is you in the stadium watching the pass, and 99 percent coverage is you out in the parking lot hearing the crowd go wild," said Novacek.

People from all over the country plan to gather on the center line. Some towns will see an extra 10,000 to 100,000 people. Novacek says if you can make it, it's worth the trip.

"It is one of the few things that I cannot put into words," said Novacek.

If you plan to watch the eclipse know that you need to take specific precautions to avoid damaging your eyes. Next week, we will look at what you need to do to watch the eclipse and stay safe in the process.