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Free Eclipse Shades at Library Event

Midday on August 21 the moon passes in front of the sun, causing a partial solar eclipse visible across all of North America. In northern Indiana, 85% of the solar disk is obscured by the moon. Additionally, observers along a narrow swath of land that bisects the country from Oregon to South Carolina can witness the spectacle of a lifetime--a total solar eclipse. Here are the first two items on your to-do list.

[Note: Another library event for the eclipse is Wednesday, July 12, at 6 PM at Elkhart Public Library.]

Get Shades

In planning for the eclipse, my first piece of advice is easy. Eye safety is paramount, so don't wait until the last minute. In advance, get eclipse shades (a.k.a. eclipse glasses) manufactured by one of the three ISO-certified companies for yourself and for others.

You might be able to get some eclipse shades for free, while supplies last, at a solar eclipse event at a library affiliated with STARnet. They write,

"The Space Science Institute (SSI) was awarded a grant from the Moore Foundation that will provide 1.26 million FREE eclipse glasses and other resources for 1,500 public libraries across the nation. The Research Corporation and Google will also be providing glasses and materials that add an additional 750,000 glasses, bringing our total to over 2 million glasses!"

For example, you can join me April 11 at 5:30 p.m. at Harris Branch Library in Granger, IN, for what the library dubs Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Solar Eclipse But Were Afraid To Ask. At the library event you'll model the 2017 solar eclipse, learn how to experience this celestial spectacle safely, and receive that free pair of eclipse shades. Got questions? Ask away. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required.

It's a free, all-ages program. Here's a nugget: If you hold a collander in the sunlight, each hole will project an image in the shape of the eclipsed sun. The same happens merely from light passing through holes in leaves during the eclipse.

Get Away

My second piece of advice is to get yourself on August 21 to the centerline of totality, the middle of that coast-to-coast swath. Plan ahead. Let them know at work or school that you won't be around that Monday, and perhaps not the preceding weekend, either. Ask for the time off now. Witness totality--when day becomes night.

Here's the map of your target destination, courtesy of Michael Zeiler (

I'll stop there. Obviously, most people are going to see a partial solar eclipse, which can be awesome--as in some genuine awe. So let's get prepared together now. Mark your calendar:

April 11 at 5:30 at Harris Branch Library; I hope to see you there.

August 21 for the solar eclipse itself; you likely won't find me.

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