Programs prelude to solar eclipse event
It hasn’t happened in the United States in 38 years. An ethereal darkness will reign across North America on Monday, Aug. 21. However, there’s no cause for concern. It won’t be the apocalypse but rather a total solar eclipse.
For the first time since August 1869, our moon will cast its shadow over Kentucky where observers within a 70-mile-wide path from Paducah to Franklin will witness one of nature’s rarest spectacles, a total solar eclipse. Southern Indiana, including Harrison, Crawford and Floyd counties, and the Louisville area will witness a 96-percent partial eclipse.
In cooperation with the Harrison County Public Library, astronomer Mark Steven Williams of Star-Geezer Astronomy will host a series of Total Solar Eclipse Preview programs throughout the community today (Wednesday) through Tuesday.
In addition to viewing the sun through telescopes with safe solar filters and demonstrations of a ‘pinhole camera,’ guests will learn the local circumstances of the eclipse, the history, science and folklore of eclipses, why there aren’t eclipses each month, how to safely view both partial and total solar eclipses, how to get the most out of the viewing experience and participate in the Eclipse Mega Movie Project.
Indoor presentations will feature astronomy and science quizzes where correct answers will win astronomy-related prizes, ‘What’s Up’ upcoming celestial events and the latest science and astronomy news.
The HCPL/StarGeezer Astronomy Total Solar Eclipse Preview events will take place today at 6:30 p.m. at Palmyra United Methodist Church; Saturday at 11 a.m. at the library’s Elizabeth branch; Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Corydon Presbyterian Church; and Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Lanesville Elementary School gym.
According to Fred Espenak, a retired NASA astrophysicist known as ‘Mr. Eclipse,’ ‘to find an eclipse covering a comparable amount of real estate in the U.S., one must go back nearly a century to 1918. This rarity underscores the significance of the 2017 eclipse, which offers millions of Americans the opportunity to witness totality within 1,500 miles or less from home.’
Williams commented, ‘We hope to share a bit of the history and mythology of solar eclipses, how a solar eclipse verified Einstein’s relativity and prepare our guests for the splendor of this extraordinary event.’
Warning: Never look at the sun without proper solar filters. Severe eye damage will result with a short glimpse.
The public is invited to these free family-friendly programs. A limited supply of free solar viewers and Sky Maps for August will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Register at www.hcpl.lib.in.us/childcalendar.htm for a particular site so adequate supplies will be available.
For more information, call the main library at 812-738-4110 or visit www.hcpl.lib.in.us/.
For astronomy or eclipse information, visit www.StarGeezerAstronomy.com, the StarGeezer Astronomy Facebook page or send an email to [email protected]