Unless you’ve been under a rock or ignoring the TV, you know that there’s something special happening this Monday: A solar eclipse!
What makes this eclipse such a big deal? For the first time in 99 years, we’ll be able to see the eclipse coast to coast in the United States. A large swath of the country – from Oregon to South Carolina – is in the path where a total eclipse can be seen.
Here in Southern Maryland, we won’t see a total eclipse of the sun, but we’ll get close. At 2:42 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, 81 percent of the sun will be blocked by the moon. If you’re outside, it will get darker and the temperature will drop.
Of course, NASA is hosting eclipse-viewing events at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, and at the museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. You can also hang out with the University of Maryland’s Astronomy Department for the big event.
But if you don’t want to venture into the city, there are viewing options here in Southern Maryland, too.
Libraries in Calvert and Charles counties will host viewing parties on Monday. Each branch will have solar-safe viewing glasses that will be handed out on a first come, first served basis.
Calvert County, 1 to 4 p.m. at all branches. For more information, visit http://calvert.lib.md.us/.
Charles County, 2 to 3:30 p.m. at all branches. For more information, visit https://www.ccplonline.org/.
In Waldorf, head over to the parking lot of the James E. Richmond Science Center at St. Charles High School for its solar eclipse viewing party. The event takes place from 1 to 4 p.m., and solar glasses will be on sale for $1. Telescopes will also be set up for closer viewing of the eclipse. Food and beverages will be available for sale. For more information, visit http://www.ccboe.com/sciencecenter/solar-eclipse/.
And if you can’t get outside to see the eclipse in person, NASA Television will broadcast the event from across the country.
The eclipse is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but safety is the most important aspect of the day. Looking directly at the sun can cause permanent damage to your eyes, so approved protective glasses are a must. If you want to buy them beforehand, the American Astronomical Society recommends buying them from these online and local vendors.
There are a ton of places in the DMV to see the event. For a complete list, go here.
Where will you watch the eclipse on Monday?
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