It's being called the Great American Solar Eclipse. On Monday, Aug. 21, the moon will cross in front of and completely block the sun along a path that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina.
While many astronomical enthusiasts are trekking to this "path of totality" to see the Continental U.S.'s first total solar eclipse in nearly a century, North Bay residents will see almost a full 80 percent of the sun eclipsed between 9am and noon. Not too shabby.
Got questions? Many will be addressed before the big day, when the Santa Rosa Junior College's planetarium holds a one-night-only show, Eclipse!, on Saturday, Aug. 19. The history, cultural impacts and science behind the celestial event will inform and fascinate.
It's not safe to stare at the sun without protection, and regular sunglasses won't cut it. With that in mind, the Sonoma County Library is handing out free eclipse-viewing glasses for safe watching. Supplies are limited, so head to any branch of the library and get your fashionable accessory now.
On Monday, the best spot to watch the eclipse locally will be at the Robert Ferguson Observatory in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, where filtered telescopes will give an up-close look. RFO, Shutterbug and KSRO also host a free viewing party at downtown Santa Rosa's Courthouse Square. See for yourself!
For details, see Field Trips, adjacent page—or just look up, Monday, Aug. 21, 9am–noon.