November 21, 2017

Solar interest eclipses all else

Observer contributed photo The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library will be handing out free solar eclipse viewing glasses during its eclipse viewing party Monday

Observer contributed photo
The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library will be handing out free solar eclipse viewing glasses during its eclipse viewing
party Monday

The library’s glasses were provided by a grant from STAR_NET, a project of the National Science Foundation that provides science resources for libraries. Library staff initially made the glasses available to patrons at the front desk. But they were taken up so fast that the staff had to remove the display in order to ensure enough pairs for the library’s solar eclipse viewing party Monday. “We had not anticipated the huge interest in the event,” said Youth Services Librarian Jill Coffrin. “(The glasses) have gone so quickly … Our supply has been depleted except for our party.” Monday’s event is an all-ages gathering with eclipse-themed snacks and activities designed to educate children about the astronomy of the eclipse. Glasses will be distributed, and viewing will take place on the green next to the library near the town gazebo.

The glasses allow wearers to safely look directly at the sun as it is partially concealed by the moon. “It will be a fun way to celebrate a very special event,” Coffrin said. Other viewing events will be held the ECHO Center in Burlington and the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury. The forecast calls for clear skies, but library staff has a plan in case of overcast weather or rain: The viewing party will move inside the library and use live internet feeds of the eclipse.

In Vermont, the eclipse will appear as a 60 percent covering of the sun; some areas of the country will experience a total eclipse. The next comparable eclipse will happen in 2045, according to STAR_NET.

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