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Solar eclipse is Monday

A total solar eclipse will occur Monday, Aug. 21 with maximum visibility at 10:23 a.m. 

Solar eclipse is Monday

Monday is the big day for sky watchers and astronomers as a total solar eclipse is predicted to be visible across North America. Scripps Ranch, along with the rest of Southern California, will experience approximately 60 percent darkness during the celestial event on Aug. 21. 

The moon will begin to appear in front of the sun beginning at about 9:07 a.m. and will leave its path at about 11:46 a.m. The eclipse will be at its maximum visibility at 10:23 a.m.

Sky watchers in some parts of San Diego closer to the coast will not be able to witness the solar eclipse directly because of a forecast marine layer. Accuweather.com is predicting cloud cover for San Diego until 1 p.m. However, viewers in Scripps Ranch might be lucky on Monday since the community is farther away from the ocean and the marine layer often disappears much earlier than areas closer to the coast. Still, it’s very possible the increased darkness will be quite noticeable for several minutes no matter what the conditions are that morning.

Nicknamed the Great American Eclipse, this year’s natural phenomenon can be witnessed in its entirety by viewers in 12 states, from Oregon to South Carolina. The swath of area within the direct path of the total eclipse is known as the path of totality.

This will be the first total solar eclipse since 1979, but don’t try to look at it without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun could damage the eyes permanently. To get more information about how to properly view the eclipse, visit greatamericaneclipse.com

Perhaps the best way to view the eclipse is to attend some of the of special events hosted by a handful of organizations in San Diego such as select branches of the San Diego Public Library, including the Scripps Miramar Ranch Branch Library, 10301 Scripps Lake Drive. Labelled Sky Party at the Library, viewing will be in full swing between 10:15 and 11:15 a.m., but the library opens at 9:30 a.m. Monday. It’s best to arrive early in case construction on Scripps Lake Drive is still underway, and parking is also likely to fill up quickly. The library is scheduled to have solar eclipse viewing glasses for participants, but supplies are limited. 

Fleet Science Center
Perhaps the largest viewing party will be held at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park on Monday. View details here: bit.ly/2wkLYSc.

Unfortunately, the Fleet Science Center has sold out of eclipse glasses. Its last expected shipment was not fulfilled by the manufacturer. However, everyone is still invited to gather at the plaza in front of the Fleet Science Center on Monday at 9 a.m. for a free eclipse-viewing event. The Science Center will have many shareable, safe ways to view the eclipse including: solar telescopes set up by the San Diego Astronomy Association; professional astronomers available to answer all eclipse related questions; and plenty of supplies to make your own pinhole projectors. Additionally, the center will be showing the NASA Edge Megacast indoors at the science center; admission required.

Mission Trails Regional Park
Three telescopes equipped with solar filters will be set up on the patio at the rear of the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Visitor Center, along with a welder’s hood properly equipped with #14 welder’s glass sufficient for solar viewing, limited supply of solar viewing glasses, and also hole punched cards for individual indirect viewing. 

Due to the weather forecast from the National Weather Service indicating that the day will start mostly cloudy, gradually clearing with temperatures reaching 85 degrees, visitors may not be able to view the partial eclipse directly from MTRP. 

The Visitor Center will show the NASA livestream coverage inside the theater. The total event only lasts a couple minutes at any one location, however, because the NASA equipment will be viewing from a number of locations across the country and in space, NASA will follow it beginning at 9 a.m. with commentary for almost four hours. 

Activities at Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center, 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Aug. 21.

Oceanside Photo and Telescope
Oceanside Photo and Telescope is scheduled to have solar telescopes set up at its store during the eclipse Monday at 915 Mission Ave. in Oceanside. Meanwhile, Oceanside Photo and Telescope has an awesome collection of maps detailing the next 50 years of total solar eclipses on its website: optcorp.com/news/.

NASA Live Stream
The National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) will have a live-stream of video from within the path of totality. Here is the link: NASA Eclipse Live Stream.

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