Yesterday in this space, I told you that if you wanted the "full eclipse" experience you'd have to head for the southern part of Illinois. If you're not in the 70 mile wide swath called the "Path of Totality," you won't get the full experience, just a partial eclipse. However, If you want to maximize your partial eclipse viewing, grab your family and head for the Discovery Center Museum.

I just got a note from our friend Ann Marie Walker, Discovery Center's Marketing Director, and she wanted me to point out that this upcoming eclipse (Monday, August 21st) is such a big deal that the Discovery Center has turned it into a two-day event.

Even though we're not in the "Path of Totality," Rockford can expect a pretty significant partial eclipse. As the moon slides in front of the sun, it will block approximately 87% of the sun’s light in the Rockford Region. An eclipse takes almost three hours from start to finish. The eclipse is expected to become noticeable in our area shortly after Noon and reach its maximum obscurity (87%) around 1:15 p.m.

On Sunday, August 20 from 1:00-4:00 pm and Eclipse Day, August 21 from 11:00-2:00 pm the public is invited to an Eclipse event at Discovery Center, included with Museum admission. Visitors will be able to create their own no-cost eclipse viewers, get hands-on with the hows and whys of eclipses, and explore space science. On Eclipse Day, August 21, we’ll be outside for viewing with our own eclipse viewers as well as solar projections from Discovery Center’s telescopes, and showing the live eclipse broadcast from NASA.
"Providing real-life, real-world science opportunities that allow our visitors to delve deeper into STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and science content in a fun, interactive manner is what we are all about,” explains Corinne Sosso, director of education at Discovery Center Museum.

Discovery Center will have a limited number of eclipse glasses to give away on Sunday and Monday, and is currently sold out of eclipse glasses in their gift shop. Safe viewing devices are easily constructed. Come to Discovery Center on Sunday to make one of your own, and take it to work or school on Monday.

Discovery Center has some advice for those planning on doing some eclipse viewing, regardless of where you're going to do it:

At NO time in the Rockford area during this eclipse will it be safe to look at the sun because we are outside of the path of totality…meaning a small part of the sun will still be visible. Remember: never look directly at the sun! Even a brief exposure to unfiltered sunlight can cause permanent retinal burns.
If you purchase eclipse glasses, make sure the glasses are manufactured in the United States, that they meet ISO 12312-2 (sometimes written as ISO 12312-2:2015) requirements, and are CE certified. These glasses are many thousands of times darker than sunglasses. The ISO specification and CE certification mean that the glasses will block more than 99% percent of the sun’s light and harmful radiation.


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