The total solar eclipse is less than two weeks away and in Newton County, obscuration will be at 94 percent, creating a partial solar eclipse for viewers to see.

Crowder College has planned a viewing event for its faculty and students on Monday, Aug. 21, but anyone who would like to show up to view the partial eclipse is invited.

“Campus Life is providing eclipse viewing glasses and snacks for our staff and students who would like to come view the eclipse on the quad,” said Cindy Brown, director of public information at Crowder College. 

The Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology (MARET) staff at Crowder will also be on hand to provide information about the eclipse, what to expect, and interesting facts about the eclipse.

The event at Crowder will be held from 12:45 to about 1:30 p.m., when the partial eclipse has come and gone.

“It should hit us around 1:14 in the afternoon and though it won’t be a full solar eclipse, it will be very close and a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Brown.

For those who plan on viewing the eclipse from the comfort of their own home, it is important to wear protective glasses while viewing the partial eclipse.

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse, when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will only happen within the narrow path of totality.

Newton County does not fall in the path of totality, therefore, when viewing the partial eclipse it is extremely crucial to keep the solar eclipse viewing glasses on during the entire event.

According to the National Weather Service, the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed, or partially eclipsed sun, is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun.

In addition, it is not safe to look at the sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.

The National Weather Service also urges viewers not to look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers because the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.

Solar eclipse viewing glasses can be purchased online at Amazon, eBay, Lowe’s, Walmart, and several other websites.

The partial eclipse is just as harmful to human eyes as a full solar eclipse, so please be careful on Aug. 21 when the eclipse comes to town.

(Editor’s note: More information about the solar eclipse can be found on page 8 in this issue, as well as our Aug. 17 issue.)

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