By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Monday, August 21, the United States will have its first total eclipse of the sun since 1979. The next North American eclipse won’t happen until April 8, 2024.
An eclipse is when the shadow of the moon covers the sun. Etowah County will witness about a 95.5 percent coverage of the sun. The eclipse will begin around 12 p.m. and last until 3 p.m. Maximum coverage will take place at about 1:30 p.m.
For the eclipse, the Gadsden Public Library is hosting a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party.
The library received 1,500 pairs of eclipse glasses from NASA and its partner StarNet. Librarian Craig Scott gave many glasses to schools, but has saved 250 of the eclipse glasses to give out during the event. Glasses will be distributed starting at 12 p.m. These glasses are necessary to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, which are still able to damage the eyes during an eclipse. This is especially important as people will be looking directly at the sun for more than the few seconds at a time that it is normally looked at.
The library’s eclipse program will begin at 12:30 p.m. Cookies and lemonade will be provided for snacks. Jacksonville State University Astronomy Club Vice President and student Justin Tinker will present information on how solar eclipses happen, other kinds of eclipses, what determines the best viewing location and how to safely view the event.
At about 1 p.m. the event will move to the library park across the street to view the solar eclipse. About 30 chairs will be set up for attendees to sit. Attendees are also welcome to bring lawn chairs, as seating is limited andScott expects a large crowd.
Scott said that he expects the view to be spectacular with stars visible at the height of the eclipse.
For more information, call 256-549-4699.