Eclipse-Watcher’s Guide

It was incorrectly reported in the media that all libraries would have glasses.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

However, we are excited about the upcoming event!

The Great American Eclipse is coming! Are you excited? We know we are! Even though total solar eclipses happen around the world about every eighteen months, there hasn't been one that crossed the United States since June 8, 1918! Whoa!

Here in Washington, we're a little too far North to see the moon completely cover the sun (you have to be within the path of totality for that) but the eclipse will hit about 90% sun obscurity around here at around 10:21 am on August 21. Here's a handy interactive map that can tell you specifics about the eclipse in your area or help you figure out how far south to go to see the full eclipse. Just zoom in on the map and click on where you live to see what time the eclipse starts, peaks, and ends. (Hint: the times are listed in Coordinated Universal Time, which is seven hours ahead of us, so subtract that from the listed time.)

And is the library hosting any events related to the eclipse? You bet we are! Here's what happening around the county leading up to, and on the day of, the eclipse:

Wednesday, August 16

The Great American Eclipse Party 7:00 pm at Boulevard Park - Come eat snacks, do space-related activities and learn more about eclipses.

Friday, August 18

Solar Science: Build an Eclipse Viewer 12:00 pm at Tukwila - Discover the science behind the solar eclipse and build your own viewer so you can watch it safely. Ages six to twelve. Registration is required for this program and is limited to twenty participants.

Saturday, August 19

Solar Eclipse Information Drop-In Session 2:00 pm at Woodmont - Come to this drop-in information session where you can pick up a pair of free eclipse viewing glasses, take part in space-related activities, and take home a Solar Eclipse Guide. While supplies last.

Sunday, August 20

Solar Eclipse Information Drop-In Session 2:00 pm at Shoreline - Come to this drop-in information session where you can pick up a pair of free eclipse viewing glasses, take part in space-related activities, and take home a Solar Eclipse Guide. While supplies last.

Monday, August 21: The Big Day!

There will be eclipse viewing parties throughout the county at Algona Pacific, Kent, Valley View,  Bellevue, Redmond, Des Moines, and Shoreline libraries, weather permitting. A limited supply of eclipse viewing glasses will be available at each event.

And hey! Did you know that you can help NASA complete a science experiment during the eclipse? All you have to do is download a free app! Pretty awesome.


If you can't make it to a KCLS location, you can also try:

Pacific Science Center: Experience the Solar Eclipse - On August 21, Pacific Science Center will open at 8:30 a.m. to prepare guests for the eclipse that will begin at 9:08 a.m. The first 800 paying guests (including both Members who receive free admission and non-Members) will receive a pair of eclipse glasses.

Museum of Flight: The Great American Solar Eclipse - Join Museum educators and NASA scientists outside the main entrance as we watch the almost total eclipse of the sun from 9:30 to 10:30 AM (Outside viewing FREE, no reservations required). Safe viewing glasses (courtesy of NASA) are FREE to the first 1000 visitors. Only available day-of. "first-come-first-serve." Museum opens at 9:00 AM.

NASA: Eclipse LiveStream MEGAcast - NASA will be live-streaming the eclipse from a location on the path of totality with clear skies predicted. Enjoy the total eclipse from the comfort of your computer! The eclipse starts at 9:08 am PST.


Why do we keep mentioning eclipse glasses? Well, generally speaking, it's a bad idea to stare directly at the sun: it can damage your eyes! And normal sunglasses aren't good enough for prolonged sun viewing. Sunglasses block about 50% of the sunlight that you see, while eclipse glasses filter out 99% of it. Huge difference!

If you want your own pair of eclipse glasses (so you don't have to worry about the library running out) check out the brands that NASA and the American Astronomical Society have approved as safe for eclipse viewing. Eclipse glasses may still be available to buy online and in stores, but you may have to hurry!

UPDATE: Need a way to view the eclipse without glasses? Check out this post from the Planetary Society on viewing eclipses with a pinhole projector!

How are you planning to watch the eclipse? Let us know in the comments!

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