By now you’ve probably heard that the United States will be able to view a total solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21. But here’s what you need to know about catching this spectacular sight in the capital area.
When to watch
With Baton Rouge positioned for only a partial eclipse, we can expect the best views of this multi-hour event noon to 1:30 p.m. on Monday as the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. Baton Rouge’s maximum eclipse will show the moon covering about 75 percent of the sun and occur at approximately 1:26 p.m.
Where to watch
BREC’s Highland Road Park Observatory (13800 Highland Road) will be hosting a special viewing event Monday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with live feeds showing views of the eclipse in different places across the country. The observatory will provide telescopic and projection views of the sun from Baton Rouge and will have solar viewers or “eclipse glasses” available for purchase for $2 (limit 2 per adult). No admission fee; recommended for ages 8 and older. Visit bro.lsu.edu for more information.
The Louisiana Art & Science Museum (100 River Road S.) staff will also be set up on the Mississippi River levee behind the museum’s planetarium theater for a similar viewing event. The museum itself will be closed, but all are welcome to visit the levee from noon-2 p.m. LASM will have a solar viewing telescope and several indirect-viewing creations available for attendees to use and safely observe the eclipse. The museum has already sold out of its solar viewing glasses, so plan to bring your own (see below for ideas!). Visit lasm.org for more information.
How to watch
Whether you travel to one of the above viewing locations or watch from work, school or home, make sure you do so safely. Many retailers have solar viewing glasses available for purchase, but you can easily make your own indirect-viewer with a shoebox, cardboard box or simple supplies you’ll find around your home, office or classroom. Whatever method you choose, understand that sunglasses, camera and telescope lenses are not enough on their own. You can seriously damage your eyes and any equipment you use without taking the proper precautions—and that includes using a camera or smartphone. You can also view the solar eclipse on your TV, computer or phone screens with online live streams from NASA.gov, as well as online and TV coverage from a variety of sources across the country.
How to celebrate
Krispy Kreme and District Donuts are both going chocolate in honor of the event. District will be serving up all chocolate doughnuts for the event, and Krispy Kreme will be turning its classic original glaze to chocolate in observance of the solar eclipse. Krispy Kreme’s donuts will be available for a short time during Hot Light evening hours over the weekend on Aug. 19 and 20 and all day Monday, Aug. 21, the day of the eclipse. Make sure you arrive early at both businesses to avoid long lines.
For a more healthy approach, Moon Joggers is accepting registration for a country-wide race. You choose your course and time yourself completing either a 5K or 10K and report the finishing time. The $17 registration includes a custom medal and bib shipped directly to you for participating. Additionally, 15 percent of every entry will be donated to Skin Cancer Foundation. Register here.
What other fun ways are you celebrating the eclipse? Tell us in the comments.