Logan County’s Public Library is gearing up and making plans for the Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse of the sun. A solar eclipses happens when the moon moves between sun and earth, blocking the sun’s rays and casting a shadow on earth. It is a lineup of the sun, the moon, and earth, and will also be a line up of several programs sponsored by the library to prepare Logan Counitans for this magnificent event.
The exciting event will draw hundreds of thousands all over Kentucky and Logan County’s library will be ready when the sky goes dark as if it were night outside. Totality will only last approximately 2.29 seconds, however, as the event is very quick, so being prepared will be beneficial.
Logan’s library will educate those who would like to learn more about the eclipse during and before. The Kentucky Science Center out of Louisville will be on hand at the library on the day of the eclipse providing educational activities, as well as professionals to answer questions and support to all who attend the viewing. On Aug. 4 at 7 p.m., International Award winning Astronomer, Kevin Manning will present his program, Astronomy for Everyone: Size & Scale of the Universe. Thomas Freese will also be at the library to share stories of how cultures from around the world explained this solar phenomenon.
“We will have a host of programs for all ages leading up to this event as people start to think about all things astronomy. Of course our big event will be the day of the eclipse, Aug. 21st,” said Logan County Public Library Director King Simpson. “It’s exciting to think about the emphasis on science that will naturally occur around the time of this event. Who knows, the next great astrophysicist could come from Logan County, and this eclipse could be their inspiration for exploring that field.”
This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years. The last one occurred Feb. 26, 1979. Unfortunately, not many people saw it because it clipped just five states in the Northwest and the weather for the most part was bleak. Before that one, you have to go back to March 7, 1970. While this eclipse will be the first since 1918 with a path of totality crossing the USA’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts, the ideal location to view it will be nestled in the heart of western Kentucky in Hopkinsville. The duration of totality will only last two minutes and 40 seconds there, but this will represent the longest opportunity to view the eclipse in the entire world.
The next total solar eclipse over the continental U.S. occurs April 8, 2024. It’s a good one, too. Depending on where you are (on the center line), the duration of totality lasts at least 3 minutes and 22 seconds on the east coast of Maine and stretches to 4 minutes and 27 seconds in southwestern Texas. After that eclipse, it’s a 20-year wait until Aug. 23, 2044 (and, similar to the 1979 event, that one is visible only in Montana and North Dakota). Total solar eclipses follow in 2045 and 2078.
When the eclipse is in its totality, it is safe to look at without a protective eye filter. But beforehand and after, it is imperative to wear a protective eye filter (not sunglasses). The Logan County Library has already purchased 1,000 eye filters for use.
“We are so excited about the unique opportunity that this eclipse will provide,” said Simpson. “A total solar eclipse is one of the most significant natural event of our lifetimes. I have not personally ever seen a total eclipse, so I am pretty excited about that. From everything I’ve read and heard, it’s something you have to see to believe.”
Kentucky boasts wonderful viewing areas with totality. They are as follows:
Paducah (1:22 p.m.) lasting 2 minutes and 20 seconds of totality
Eddyville (1:23 p.m.) lasting 2 minutes and 39 seconds of totality
Hopkinsville (1:24 p.m.) lasting 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality. Hopkinsville lies right on the center line. This, together with the preparations that the folks at Hopkinsville Community College are making, makes it a great place to consider watching the eclipse from.
Franklin (1:26 p.m.) lasting 2 minutes and 26 seconds of totality
Russellville (1:26 p.m.) lasting 2 minutes and 29 seconds of totality
Bowling Green lies in the path, but it is on the northern edge, and folks here are advised to head to Hopkinsville, or down I-65 into Tennessee.
Mammoth Cave and Murray are not in the path, and neither are Louisville or Lexington. This show belongs to the far southwestern part of the Commonwealth, and you are urged to get there and be a part of it all.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.