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Watching the solar eclipse in Ocean City

You’ve probably been hearing a lot of buzz about the solar eclipse that will be gracing the skies over Ocean City this coming Monday. It’ll definitely be a cool sight–a solar eclipse happens during the New Moon, when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and blocks out the sun, and this one will darken the skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina. Approximately two solar eclipses occur each calendar year, but visibility differs from location to location. The upcoming August 21 eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse that’s visible throughout the United States since 1979, so cross your fingers that the skies are clear and the weather is mild on Monday. 

Approximate eclipse times

The first contact between the moon and sun will occur at about 1:22 p.m. The peak of the eclipse, when the sun is fully blocked, will occur at 2:47 p.m. Last contact will be at 4:05 p.m.  

Best places to watch

Some of the locations below will be giving away pairs of protective glasses, which you’ll want to make sure you have before staring straight into the sun. It’s only safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye during totality, when the sun is completely obscured by the moon (and it’s not likely you’ll see the eclipse in totality from Ocean City). However, you will most definitely need to protect your eyes during the partial eclipse–even when the sun is partially covered by the moon, staring directly at it can lead to serious eye damage or blindness. Stay safe!

NASA Wallops Visitor Center

Join the party at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility’s Visitor Center and see an 81.5% partial eclipse from the island. Those who take part will receive free glasses for safe viewing, and can take part in solar-themed activities and movie watching. They’ll also be streaming the NASA TV live broadcast from 1 – 4 p.m, which will feature NASA experts along the path of totality and live feeds from NASA aircraft, balloons and the International Space Station

Ocean City library

Come party at the library before you go out to look at the sky. The Ocean City Library and the Pocomoke Library will both be offering eclipse-related snacks and crafts, as well as safety glasses available on a first come, first served basis. 

Assateague State Park

Out on Assateague, you’ll be able to totally immerse yourself in the outdoors and lose yourself in the picturesque moment. Park officials will be handing out glasses and there will also be an exhibit at the park’s Nature Nook. 

Downtown Salisbury

Visitors are invited to congregate at the Salisbury Plaza or the nearby parking garage at this free event, where glasses will be distributed to onlookers. 

Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce

RSVP and receive free glasses courtesy of Avery Hall Insurance–just RSVP beforehand.

Optimizing the experience

Pro tip: if you’ve got binoculars, bring ’em. As the eclipse nears totality, you’ll be able to see the solar corona: the sun’s outer atmosphere which, when the sun is covered by the moon, radiates outward. With binoculars, you might even be able to see magnetic energy and filaments of plasma that resemble ropes in the corona. 

Don’t have binoculars or a pair of safety glasses? Try making your own pinhole projector. 

Assateague Guide

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Just a reminder, only use binoculars if they are appropriately filtered. You can’t just put on your glasses and use regular binoculars as they concentrate the light.

  2. Please correct the part of the article that says to bring binoculars. Using binoculars to look at the sun at any time during the eclipse is dangerous and you could lose your vision. Please correct this. It is not safe to look at the sun with binoculars. Use only glasses approved to be safe for viewing the eclipse.

    • You can use binoculars if they are appropriately filtered with protective solar filters. Obviously if you need protection for your eyes, that also applies when using any kind of telescope/field glasses.

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