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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Solar Eclipse

Drawing showing the relative positions of the Sun, Moon, and Earth during a solar eclipse.
Photo credit: Sagredo
Update on Solar Eclipse Glasses 8/16/17: Several MCPL branches are hosting eclipse-related programs. Some of those branches will offer a limited supply of eclipse glasses for those programs only. The Friends of the Library, Montgomery County was selling eclipse glasses in their bookstores but those glasses have now sold out.

As you’ve probably heard by now, a total solar eclipse will be visible in parts of the United States on August 21st, 2017. While we’re not in the path of totality, when the moon completely obscures the sun, we’ll still be able to view a partial eclipse where the moon will obscure approximately 80% of the sun (source: Vox interactive solar eclipse map). This is definitely one of those things to check off your bucket list!

To view a solar eclipse, it is essential that you have appropriate protective eyewear! Sunglasses are not sufficient for this purpose. You will need glasses with special filters designed for viewing the sun. MCPL was lucky enough to apply for and receive a supply of eclipse glasses from Starnet Libraries through a grant funded by the Moore Foundation. Several MCPL branches are hosting eclipse-related programs. Some of those branches will offer a limited supply of eclipse glasses for programs.

So, what if you can’t make one of our programs but you still need eclipse glasses? There are also reputable companies manufacturing eclipse glasses recommended by NASA - American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17. The most important thing to look for in your eclipse glasses is that they meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. For more information on safely viewing the eclipse, head over to NASA’s Eclipse Safety website. (Editor's Note: An earlier version of this blogpost mentioned that Friends of the Library, Montgomery County was selling eclipse glasses in their bookstores. Those glasses have now sold out.)

Tips for enjoying the eclipse:

• In Montgomery County, the eclipse will peak at approximately 2:42pm.
• Always wear protective eyewear! Make sure your eyewear is not damaged or scratched and that the lenses are completely secured to the glasses. Check that they meet the ISO 12312-2 requirement.
• Do NOT view the eclipse through a camera, telescope or binoculars even if you’re wearing your eclipse glasses. A specialized filter is needed for optical devices.
• Be prepared for the long haul! The eclipse can last about 2.5 hours from start to finish. If you plan to be outside, bring sunscreen and water.
• Check the weather forecast. If we luck out and it’s cloudy during the time of the eclipse, you can live stream the event on the internet. Some libraries may also do this if views are obstructed.

If you’d like to read up on all things eclipse and space related, check out these titles in our collection:

For adults: The Total Skywatcher’s Manual : 275+ Skills and Tricks for Exploring Stars, Planets & Beyond by Linda Shore, David Prosper & Vivian White of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

For kids: When the Sun Goes Dark by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz; illustrated by Eric Freeberg

 Enjoy!

8 comments:

  1. I am excited about the eclipse. We will be attending the Thu 8/17 Silver Spring event and the Mon 8/21 Long Branch event. As my girls say, it will b AWESOOME!

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  2. Can we get eclipse glasses from a MoCo Library?

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    1. Hello!
      Several MCPL branches are hosting eclipse-related programs. Some of those branches will offer a limited supply of eclipse glasses for programs. List of programs: http://host.evanced.info/montgomerycountymd/evanced/eventcalendar.asp?kw=eclipse&ln=ALL&nd=60

      If you can’t make one of our programs but you still need eclipse glasses our Friends of the Library bookstores are selling eclipse glasses at both of their locations in Rockville and Silver Spring. The glasses have been in hot demand, so please contact the Friends directly to check on current supply. Contact Info for FOLMC bookstores:
      https://www.folmc.org/bookstores/

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  3. Are there any glasses left anywhere in Montgomery area

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    1. In regards to MCPL branches and the Friends of the Library Montgomery County, I'm sorry but we don't have any. Eclipse glasses are not available for distribution and sale from MCPL branches or the FOLMC.

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  4. I am not interested in the glasses, but wondering if the libraries will have an educator that has special filter scope for the kids to look through, or will they simply be live streaming events from NASA or someplace off internet? Which library?

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    1. Hi! As far as I know, no branches are having an educator with a special filter scope. Here is a list of events at our branches: http://host.evanced.info/montgomerycountymd/evanced/eventcalendar.asp?kw=eclipse&ln=ALL&nd=60 The Olney branch will offer live streaming, as you see in the link, but please contact other branches of interest to see if they are offering live streaming as well. Here is a link to our branches and phone numbers. http://montgomerycountymd.gov/library/branches/index.html

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