Well, readers, the big day is finally upon us. Here’s some last-minute information on Monday afternoon’s solar eclipse to get you started:
On Monday, a solar eclipse will span America from coast to coast, a rare event that won’t occur again until 2045. The last time a total solar eclipse — the phenomenon occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking out the sun entirely — stretched across the United States was nearly 100 years ago. So, the hype surrounding the event is probably warranted. Ditto on those special eclipse glasses — you’ll definitely need a pair of those, unless you have the an eclipse-viewing telescope or pinhole camera.
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Where and when:
We won’t experience totality here in Lawrence, but we’re pretty close. At the eclipse’s peak, predicted for 1:07 p.m., about 99.3 percent of the sun’s surface will be covered. The partial eclipse will likely begin after 11:30 a.m., with the sky gradually growing darker over the next hour. About half of the sun will be covered by 12:30 p.m.
Shenk Sports Complex near the intersection of Iowa Street and Clinton Parkway will host what will probably be the largest gathering of eclipse-watchers in town. Several University of Kansas entities are teaming up with the American Astronomical Society to host “The Eclipse at KU: A Community Event.” Everyone’s invited to the free gathering, slated for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday.
Before the eclipse, visitors are encouraged to check out science and art activities around the Shenk complex, which will be populated with food trucks. Organizers are also providing guests with viewing methods, including safety glasses and specially designed telescopes, for the main event.
Emily Heller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said there is a 65 percent chance of cloud cover during the eclipse.
“It could be scattered clouds or a thick layer of mid- to high-level clouds,” she said. “It’s really hard to predict. There’s going to be clouds, but it might not be a complete bust.”