Community-Based Events for the Solar Eclipse

Partial Eclipse Visible on Monday, August 21, 2017

On Monday, August 21, 2017, the moon will pass in front of the sun, creating a solar eclipse which will be visible throughout the United States. In western Massachusetts, this event will be visible as a partial eclipse, as the moon will not entirely obscure our view of the sun. In fourteen states across the country, it will be visible as a total eclipse! The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the United States in this manner was June 8, 1918!

Since the sun will still be visible to us throughout the eclipse, viewers will need to acquire eclipse glasses in order to view it safely. Various organizations will be offering these tools, as well as fun educational activities, at eclipse viewing events on Monday, August 21, 2017: 

12pm film screening at the Holyoke Public Library

Much of what we know about astronomy has been gleaned from outer space exploration. The film Hidden Figures (based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly) illuminates the story of three black female mathematicians who helped shape the NASA space program. These women have been largely overlooked by history books in spite of their contributions to astronomy and mathematics. You can view this 2016 film (rated PG) in honor of the solar eclipse. This exciting event combines the topics of women’s history, American history, astronomy, mathematics, and film studies into one! After the movie, participants will head outside to see the celestial event. For more information contact Rachel at 413-420-8119. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

12pm-4pm take a guided hike of the Hoosac Range

You can view this eclipse while enjoying a guided nature hike! Meet others who enjoy explorations of nature and astronomy as you hike six miles along the ridgeline trail. The halfway point will be the open rock summit of Spruce Hill, where participants will witness the peak of the solar eclipse. Visit the Berkshire Natural Resources Council website for further details and directions. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

1pm-4pm at the Springfield Museums

The Springfield Museums’ Science Museum will be setting up telescopes with safe solar filters on the Quadrangle. In Springfield, the eclipse begins at 1:25 pm and ends at 3:58 pm. At maximum eclipse (2:44pm) 2/3 of the sun’s disc will be covered by the moon. Since part of the sun will always be visible from New England during the event, observers must use filters that are specifically made for viewing the sun. A limited number of safe eclipse glasses will be distributed to participants. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

2pm at the Forbes Library

The Forbes Scientific Kids’ Club meeting will feature a special treat on August 21, as participants venture outside to see the solar eclipse! Eclipse glasses will be provided, and attendees will learn the science behind this celestial event. Registration is required. Sign up at the children’s desk by calling 413-587-1010. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

2pm-2:30pm at all Springfield City Libraries

The Springfield City Library will be hosting eclipse parties at all of their branch locations (Brightwood, East Forest Park, Forest Park, and Indian Orchard locations, as well as at Library Express at Pine Point.) Eclipse glasses will be available to help attendees safely view the eclipse. Participating library locations will also provide activities, solar eclipse models, and sun-inspired snacks. All ages are welcome! 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

To learn more about this celestial event, check out An Observer’s Guide to Viewing the Eclipse, an article adapted from the book Solar Science by Dennis Schatz and Andrew Fraknoi.

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