There has been a lot of information in the news, blogs, and websites about the upcoming August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse. Though it will not reach totality (completely block out the sun) in the Adirondacks, it is still an interesting phenomenon that will not occur again until 2024. The partial solar eclipse will be visible in our area. With any event that garners such attention, there are safety precautions that need to be followed.
Whether attending a formal viewing party or a solitary event, plenty of people plan to take a few moments of their day to watch the moon pass in front of the sun. One place that can answer all solar eclipse questions is the Adirondack Public Observatory (APO) in Tupper Lake. Using solar telescopes and providing special view glasses, the APO is providing an free afternoon celebrating the sun and moon.
Please keep in mind that it is never safe to look directly at the sun – even if the sun is partly obscured. Proper equipment is needed for observing the sun, especially through a telescope. The best example I’ve been given is to think about a child using a magnifying glass to burn leaves. That is a similar effect that can happen to a person’s eyes through a regular telescope without a solar filter.
If you or your family do not have solar glasses, please check with your local library. Some libraries have had free solar glasses available all summer. There are also various stores that are selling authentic solar eclipse glasses. Please make sure to wear NASA-approved solar eclipse glasses.
There are also plenty of other educational opportunities with APO. The Education Committee provides outreach via presentations, lectures and programs. Some events are held in classrooms, the APO facility and The Wild Center to name a few. Don’t worry if you can’t attend the Solar Eclipse party, APO conducts weekly observation evenings each Friday through Labor Day as well as the first and third Fridays each month through the winter. There are plans to enlarge the current APO site into an Astro Science Center to eventually include a museum, planetarium, dome, research-grade telescope, and classrooms.
The Adirondack Observatory’s Great American Eclipse of 2017 party is free and open to the public from 12:30 to 4 pm on August 21. Please be careful when observing the Solar Eclipse.