What you need to know about the August solar eclipse: educational programs and free viewing glasses

This NASA photo shows a solar eclipse at about 80-85 percent, just about the view from Elkhart during the Aug. 21 event.

This NASA photo shows a solar eclipse at about 80-85 percent, just about the view from Elkhart during the Aug. 21 event.

Seeing the moon pass in front of the sun is a rare thing – perhaps even a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Your chance comes this summer.

A partial solar eclipse will be visible in Elkhart County, and it will look like something took a bite out of the sun. Nearly 90 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon.

“The solar eclipse is an excellent chance to get everyone in the community talking about space,” said Allison McLean, director of Young People’s Services at Elkhart Public Library. “Everyone who is able should take some time out of their day to watch this celestial occurrence.”

Leading up to the Aug. 21 eclipse, the library will offer education for those interested in learning more about the causes and effects, as well as proper viewing techniques.

The session for adults will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 12 – during Elkhart ArtWalk. A kids presentation for ages 5 and up will occur at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7, and it will include hands-on activities to see new ways of how science can be fun.

Both events will be at the downtown location, 300 S. Second St., Elkhart.

The safe way to view the eclipse is through solar viewing glasses, which the library will provide, free of charge, for 1,000 people at the two events before the eclipse and the eclipse viewing party. The programs and resources are part of the “NASA@ My Library” grant, awarded to Elkhart Public Library and 74 other libraries across the country to further STEM education.

“The library hopes to build excitement around the work of NASA and raise awareness of the role the library can play in a science education,” McLean said. “It is our hope that children and families exposed to scientific ideas in a library event will want to learn more.”

On Aug. 21, the moon will begin passing in front of the sun about 1 p.m., and it’s not a quick process. By 2:20 p.m., the eclipse will reach its midpoint, but the fun will start long before that. Beginning at noon, the library will host a solar eclipse viewing party in the library and at Central Park, which a block away behind Civic Plaza.

For complete information and other events related to NASA @ My Library, visit MyEPL.org.

 

 

 

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