A bad omen from the gods. A dragon eating the sun. A sign of the apocalypse. Ancient civilizations saw eclipses as unnatural, but modern science has shown us that a solar eclipse is an extraordinary coincidence, and this Monday is the best chance for Greenwich residents to see one.
The total solar eclipse that will cross the United States is an alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth that only occurs because the sun is 400 times larger than the moon, but also 400 times farther away. Few planets in the Milky Way Galaxy are likely to experience the moon fully obscuring the sun.
In Greenwich, people will only be able to see a partial solar eclipse but it simply requires being in an open area with eye protection. The eclipse will begin at 1:24 pm and end at 4:00 pm.
“A solar eclipse is a great experience and it’s beautiful and it’s very rare,” said Anne Burns, president of the Astronomical Society of Greenwich. She also said to look out for dappled images of the partially eclipsed sun on the ground.
It’s only safe to look directly at the eclipsed sun through eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers.
Looking directly at the sun without eye protection risks permanent blind spots, swelling in the retina, and other vision problems.
This is especially dangerous because the retina, the part of the eye that the sun would damage the most, does not have any pain receptors.
Some companies are selling unsafe eclipse glasses so it’s important to refer to the American Astronomical Society Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers for glasses that adhere to international safety standards.
The eclipse can also be viewed indirectly through a hand-made pinhole projector.
To view an eclipse through a telescope, you will need solar filters; looking through a camera, telescope, or binoculars while using eclipse glasses or solar viewer will cause eye damage. More information about safe viewing can be found here.
There are several events in and around Greenwich for viewing the solar eclipse.
The Greenwich Astronomical Society is hosting a free eclipse viewing at Bowman Observatory, Greenwich(clear skies permitting). There will be several glasses for people to share and projectors to view the eclipse better. The viewing will begin at 12:30 PM.
The Stamford Nature Center is hosting a celebration of the solar eclipse with a variety of activities, including the chance to make a pinhole viewer. It begins in the Museum Building(Bendel Mansion.) It is free for members. For non-members, it is free with the admission price of $10 for adults and $5 for children. The celebration will begin at 1:30 PM and end at 3:30 PM
The Stepping Stones Museum for Children is hosting a celebration of the solar eclipse from 100pm to 5:00pm. Eclipse glasses will be provided. It is free for members and free with the admissions price of $15 for all non-members.