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Best. Sun. Ever.

Want to observe the sun as you've never seen it before? Then get your can to Chicory Cafe in downtown South Bend, IN, midday on Wednesday, May 31, to make your own unique solargraph and to get a pair of eclipse glasses. A solargraph is a long-duration exposure of the sun using a simple pinhole camera, and the eclipse shades will allow you to witness safely the August 21 solar eclipse. In 2017, experience the Best. Sun. Ever.

Inside view of solargraph can with pinhole and photographic paper.

Best. Week. Ever.

Logo: Best. Week. Ever.

The City of South Bend Venues Parks and Arts describes the week-long party this way:

Best. Week. Ever. is a week-long collection of experiences across South Bend celebrating our culture, progress, and creativity as a community. Better yet, it is an invitation to celebrate our city and the things that are important to us. It is an opportunity to engage with the many facets blending together to make South Bend's story.

From May 29th to June 4th, every day will be jam packed with a vibrant mix of extraordinary things taking place all over our community…sometimes in unlikely places.

We begin our two-part sungazing adventure in a cafe.

Part 1: Get Your Can to Chicory Cafe

Big orange box.

That is, your beverage can. Bring an empty, clean, and dry 16-ounce aluminum can to Chicory Cafe from noon until 3:00 p.m. Don't have a 16-ounce can to recycle, you say? Fortunately, Chicory Cafe serves Sunlight Cream Ale from Sun King Brewery, but somehow (?) you'll have to empty the beer can. We have some unlabeled cans for families and kids, too. Enjoy as much Sunlight as you like, but supplies are limited to one solargraph per visitor.

Once you have an empty rinsed-out can, find the big orange box somewhere at Chicory Cafe. There you'll cut the end off the can, punch a pinhole, and "go under the hood" to assemble your solargraph (photographic paper requires darkness). Takes about five minutes.

A few weeks later near the June solstice you will securely mount your solargraph can, remove the tape covering the pinhole, and start the exposure. I encourage you to leave the can in place for six months to capture the sun arcing across the sky from its highest through its lowest points. Waiting is the hardest part.

In December 2017 (or sooner if you choose), you will recover your solargraph can, we'll scan the resulting images, and you will have the most fascinating image of the sun you have ever taken. Somewhere in South Bend we will have a reveal party around the December solstice to share the images everyone has made. As promised, Best. Sun. Ever.

Solargraph image from the Oliver Mansion in South Bend, IN

Part 2: Gaze Safely at the Sun

Eclipse shades for safe viewing of the sun.

We complement Sun King and solargraphs by featuring the 2017 solar eclipse. Best. Sun. Ever. will display a ten-foot long map of the eclipse's path of totality and other eclipse resources. Skip school, skip work, and get yourself to the narrow swath from Oregon to South Carolina on August 21 where the solar eclipse will be total. In South Bend about 85% of the sun will be blocked by the moon at maximum eclipse. Either way, you must where protective eyewear to look at the partially exposed sun.

If you make a solargraph and agree to share your photographic results, you will get a free pair of eclipse glasses while supplies last. Come August and they'll be a hot commodity. Again, observe the sun as you've never seen it before. Best. Sun. Ever.

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