What is so great about the August 21st Great American Eclipse? Come to The Parklands from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, July 30, 2017 to find out!
Our science partners from the Louisville Astronomical Society will be in Beckley Creek, Turkey Run and Broad Run Parks with solar telescopes and a lot of information on safely viewing this once-in-a-lifetime solar event.
The first 300 park visitors to check in at our solar science stations will receive free solar glasses, which will allow them to view the partial eclipse without damaging their eyes. DO NOT look at the sun without proper eye protection. It will cause permanent damage to your eyes and blindness. Follow the safety instructions on the back of your glasses to have a safe solar observation of this phenomenon.
In addition to learning how to view the partial eclipse safely using the solar glasses, guests will learn a few trick to enhance solar eclipse viewing including:
- how to build a pinhole projection camera out of a cardboard box or a shoebox
- how to project the eclipse image using paper plates
- how to use a #14 welding glass to watch the sun disappear as the moon crosses it
So what is an eclipse? It is when one astronomical body moves in front of another to block it from the viewer. In a solar eclipse, the moon moves in front of the sun causing the moon to cast two shadows on the earth. The narrow umbra shadow causes the sun to be totally eclipsed in a sixty five mile wide path across the United States while the penumbra, or lesser shadow, will cause a partial eclipse to some degree across all of North America.
What makes this eclipse worthy of the name “The Great American Eclipse”? We have not had a total eclipse like this in Kentucky for 99 years! The last partial eclipse in Kentucky occurred in 1978 but not to the degree we will experience in August.
Here in Louisville, we will observe a 96% sun obscuration at 2:27 PM on August 21, 2017. Totality will be viewable from locations as close as Bowling Green to the south and Hopkinsville to the southwest. Viewers at those locations will experience a total solar eclipse for two minutes and forty seconds.
In The Parklands, our interpretive rangers will host a Solar Eclipse Watch Party at the PNC Achievement Center in Beckley Creek Park on Eclipse Day, August 21, to answer your questions and provide information. Until then, join us at all three parks on July 30 from 1-3 PM and practice viewing with the LAS Solar Observers. They will be at:
- PNC Achievement Center in Beckley Creek Park
- Brown-Forman Silo Center in Turkey Run Park
- Cliffside Playground in Broad Run Park
Remember, practice makes perfect! You can get more eclipse information at the LAS website at www.louisville-astro.org.
Ken Alderson is a Parklands Ambassador, president of the Louisville Astronomical Society and a NASA Solar System ambassador. He loves sharing the night sky with the public and he is excited to share the daytime sky as well, especially during the Great American Eclipse.