Darke County prepares for historic eclipse


DARKE COUNTY — A solar eclipse will be visible across all of North America on Monday, August 21, with Ohioans witnessing a partial eclipse in which 80-90 percent of the sun will be obscured. According to NASA, the last eclipse to be visible across the entire continental United States was 99 years ago.

A viewing party has been scheduled at the New Madison Public Library at 2 p.m. Monday. Brenda Miller, director of the library, planned in advance for the event by ordering 200 pairs of viewing glasses, utilizing a grant created by NASA and an organization called StarNet.

The glasses are a necessity, as viewing an eclipse without some form of protection can be harmful to the viewer’s eyes, especially in the case of children.

“You have to make sure the glasses are completely covering your eyes,” Miller said. “Especially for the little ones.”

The eclipse can be viewed safely in a variety of ways, according to experts, including using a pinhole projector. This is done by poking a hole in the middle of one average-sized white playing card, standing with your back to the sun, and holding the card over one’s head or shoulder, lining it up with a second card so that the image of the eclipse passes through the hole in the first card and is reflected onto the second.

A similar technique utilizes a colander. By holding the common kitchen utensil toward the sun, one can project the image of the eclipse onto a piece of white paper sitting on the ground.

The only safe way to view the eclipse directly, experts stress, is by wearing specially designed protective eyewear. Since some vendors have been known to produce faulty or defective eclipse-viewing glasses, the safety and authenticity of these can be verified by checking the manufacturer against a list of vendors considered reputable by the American Astronomical Society. This list is available on the organization’s website.

Eclipse-related events are happening across the country, with many Ohioans heading to locations in Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Illinois in hopes of enjoying the spectacle. AAA spokesmen report that many hotels along the path of totality have been booked solid for the event.

Locally, viewing events will be hosted by Darke County Parks Monday from 1-3 p.m., on the hill behind the Nature Center in Greenville; at Worch Memorial Library in Versailles from 1-4 p.m.; and at Lost Creek Reserve in Troy from 1-4 p.m.

For their part, New Madison Library’s event will include free glasses, punch, and Solar Eclipse cookies.

“God’s presenting the event,” Miller said. “We’re just providing some entertainment behind the scenes.”

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Monday’s eclipse will be the first visible across all of North America since 1918.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/08/web1_eclipse-2.jpgMonday’s eclipse will be the first visible across all of North America since 1918. Courtesy photo

The sun will be 90 percent eclipsed in Darke County by about 2:27 p.m.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/08/web1_eclipse-1.jpgThe sun will be 90 percent eclipsed in Darke County by about 2:27 p.m. Courtesy photo

By Tony Baker

abaker@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. To join the conversation and get updates on Facebook, search Advocate 360. For more features online, go to dailyadvocate.com