If you’ve ever wanted more daytime excitement from your planetary system, it’s happening this Monday. The solar eclipse is going to take place all across America for the first time since 1979.
A solar eclipse is when the moon crosses in front of the sun and blocks the light to earth. This alignment of three celestial bodies is called syzygy (but I’m only telling you this so you can win at Scrabble).
Since NASA has mapped out the locations where there will be a total eclipse, many people are traveling to see it, and places are sold out or selling for ridiculously high prices. Even though Fresno won’t experience a TOTAL eclipse, the moon is still going to pass in front of about 75% of the sun here!
So, if you’re interested in seeing a cool natural event on Monday, here’s what you need to know to safely enjoy the solar eclipse.
Looking at the sun is very bad for your eyes!
This is very important. Don’t do it, even when there’s a moon blocking your view. You can buy special viewing glasses or make a pinhole projector if you want to go outside and observe this event. Or you can stay home and watch it on the internet. Whatever you do, don’t look at it directly or through a camera lens. You don’t want to damage your vision.
For safety tips on the eclipse, check out NASA’s website here. Also, please make sure that your eclipse viewing glasses are compliant with safety standards. A list of places you can get legit viewing glasses can be found here.
Now is the time to get eclipse swag
Do you want an eclipse t-shirt? Stamps? What about a cheeky coffee mug? There are lots of different ways to remember the moment, or in this case, the “about two minutes if you’re lucky” when the sun is blocked by the moon. Don’t miss this opportunity to sport your space support.
How and when to watch the eclipse
If you want to plan your day around the eclipse, check out this website that tells you what time the eclipse will start and end in your area. In Fresno, the eclipse will be at its maximum at about 10:19 a.m. on Monday. If you want to see the total eclipse, you can watch it from your home. Check out NASA’s live stream of the event on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
More fun space stuff in Fresno
If the solar event has whet your whistle for more space fun, there are several ways to enjoy the wonders of the solar system here in town. For example, the Central Valley Astronomers club hosts star parties that are open to the public. On August 26 they will host one in River Park from 6-10 p.m. These are free events. To learn about star party etiquette, check out the CVA website here.
Additionally, the Downing Planetarium at Fresno State has weekend shows that are open to the public. On Friday nights and Saturday afternoons they show educational movies in their 74-seat theater. Not only do you get to watch a movie (astronomy themed, of course), you may even see stars. On clear Fridays when the Planetarium is open for public shows, they will bring their telescope onto the lawn. The stargazing is free and takes place in front of the planetarium from dusk to 8 p.m. The weekend shows cost $5 for adults and $3 for children. You can get your tickets here.
Have you made your solar eclipse plans yet? Personally, I am going to get some of those cool eclipse stamps. At the rate postage increases, it’s probably a great investment.
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