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Springfield Museums Schedules Viewing of Aug. 21 Solar Eclipse

SPRINGFIELD — On Monday, Aug. 21, New England residents will have a rare opportunity to view a partial eclipse of the sun. This type of eclipse occurs during the daytime when the moon passes in front of the sun and covers part of the sun’s disc. The Springfield Museums’ Science Museum staff and members of the Springfield Stars Club will set up telescopes equipped with safe solar filters on the Quadrangle for public viewing of the event from 1 to 4 p.m.

The partial eclipse seen in New England will lack the dramatic darkening that will be experienced by observers who are stationed along the path of the moon’s shadow, which is about 70 miles wide and stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. From that strip of land, known as the path of totality, people will witness a total solar eclipse — the first such eclipse visible in the continental U.S. since 1979. Anyone positioned outside the path will see a partial eclipse.

In Springfield, the eclipse begins at 1:25 p.m. and ends at 3:58 p.m. At maximum eclipse, which occurs at 2:44 p.m., two-thirds 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. The use of improper filters over the eyes or on a telescope may result in permanent eye damage. A limited number of safe ‘eclipse glasses’ will be distributed to participants.

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