Can’t go to the eclipse? Make the most of it here

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Just a heads up. Next Monday afternoon it’s going to get pretty dark. Apparently the moon is going to pass in front of the sun for a couple of hours. And while it’s going to be dark here, down south it’ll be way dark. Wait, you knew about this?

Photos courtesy of NASA

Actually, considering the media coverage, if you didn’t know about the eclipse, you must be living on the dark side of the moon – which won’t be dark on Monday.

Of course, here in Vermont we aren’t getting the full show – or totality,  as it is known. The real action is in an arc from Oregon to South Carolina where highways will be full of folks trying to find the best vantage point for a few moments of seeing a brightly glowing ring of sun around our darkened moon.

While we can’t all head for Kentucky or Tennessee to catch the corona, we can still get a little eclipse action here, where – at the height of the eclipse – we’ll experience a crescent sun – tilted up with the points of the crescent facing down. In Chester, the eclipse begins about 1:24 p.m. and ends at 3:56 p.m. with the maximum coverage at about 2:43. To get times for another place click the above link and enter the name of the place.

By now you’ve heard all the warnings about viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection. If not click here.

You need eye protection to watch the eclipse. The American Astronomical Society provides a list of reputable sources for eclipse glasses, although there’s a good chance many will be sold out. There are people selling fake eclipse glasses and using these may damage your eyes, so buy carefully.

Another safe way to view the eclipse is by making a pinhole camera. Click here for instructions.

And if this is all too much to take in, there are some events going on in the area where you can take an hour or two and safely feel like a real part of the solar system.

NASA supported library programs

With the support of NASA, Google and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Space Science Institute’s STAR Net has distributed millions of safe solar eclipse glasses to thousands of libraries across the United States.

While relatively few libraries in Vermont have taken advantage of the free viewers, there are a few in our area where you can go for an eclipse event. Find a map of participating libraries across the country here.

In our area, the closest library events are:

  • The Rockingham Library, 65 Westminster St., Bellows Falls. Join the library to view the eclipse from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • The Fiske Free Library, 108 Broad St., Claremont, N.H.  Storytelling – When the Moon Danced With the Sun at 1 p.m.
  • Keene Public Library, 60 Winter St., Keene, N.H., will hold a party from 1 to 4 p.m. to celebrate the eclipse with activities, art, and stories. At 1:30 p.m. watch the Partial Solar Eclipse with members of the Keene Amateur Astronomers from the library lawn.

And one more

If you can go a bit farther afield, Green Mountain Astronomers will be hosting an eclipse day event at Castleton University by the observatory.

They will have a Lunt 152 mm H-alpha scope setup as well as a couple of white light filtered telescopes, and a supply of solar glasses to hand out.  The group has also arranged a live stream to be projected on a big screen in the Jefford’s Auditorium (just across the parking lot from the observatory.) The event will take place for the entire duration of the eclipse, which is estimated (for Castleton) to be from 1:23  to 3:55 p.m.

Whether you’re stuck at work or all set up with the best equipment and the clouds roll in, all is not lost. You can also see the eclipse online. NASA is providing a number of ways to stream the eclipse.

The next time a total solar eclipse crosses the continental United States will be April 8, 2024. And the path of totality for that one runs right across northern Vermont.

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  1. Hegesias of Cyrene says:

    “…if you didn’t know about the eclipse, you must be living on the dark side of the moon – which won’t be dark on Monday.”


  2. Karen says:

    Thanks for the information. Hope I can score some glasses.