View from Mars Hill: Here comes the eclipse, Flagstaff

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For people in many places, the total solar eclipse could be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

"An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won't want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures". This is a free event, open to the public. The solar filters, which must meet the worldwide standard ISO 12312-2, are used in eclipse glasses and hand-held filters.

Astronomers can view the sun's corona with a device known as a coronagraph, but the innermost reaches of the sun's atmosphere, called the photosphere, remain elusive outside of solar eclipses, according to Kris McCall, director of Triton College's Cernan Earth and Space Center in River Grove.

A total solar eclipse is where the moon will completely cover the sun.

NASA's path of totality maps show a crisply defined, 70-mile-wide path where the moon blocks 100 percent of the sun. The closer you are to this path of total eclipse, the bigger the partial eclipse you will see. The eclipse itself ends at 4:01 p.m. EDT.

21, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the Sun, and NASA Television will carry it live from coast to coast from unique vantage points on the ground and from aircraft and spacecraft, including the International Space Station.

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Watch the weather. While the sky will still get dark if clouds cover the sun, you won't see the dramatic effects of the eclipse. Food will be available for purchase, and free solar eclipse glasses will be available for viewing.

The eclipse isn't just a couple of moments in the dark in the middle of the day.

In addition to its preparation event, the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society also will help people experience the solar eclipse by having members out from noon to 3 p.m. August 21 in the plaza outside the main library, a group news release said. Most people will expect to see it in some way even if only on television. The Bravas and Ragin' Cajun food trucks also will be parked nearby so people can enjoy food while they watch.

And finally, try your local library for eclipse viewing parties. "It is not for direct sight and eye damages won't be noticed right away". Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. For anyone at a place where a partial solar eclipse with occur, the use of solar filters is mandatory. While this may not cause permanent blindness, people who stare at the eclipse for long enough without eye protection could suffer permanent damage to their vision. Do not remove them while looking at the sun.

Aspiring eclipse watchers in northern IL only will be able to see about 87 percent of the sun obscured. These can easily be made by simply poking a pin-sized hole (thus the name) in a piece of cardboard, and then holding the cardboard such that the sunlight passes through the hole and falls onto a viewing surface (a white piece of paper, sidewalk, garage door, etc.) To focus the image, the observer simply moves the cardboard farther or nearer from the viewing surface.

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