By Heather Lusk
When a total solar eclipse spans North America Aug. 21, the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library wants residents to be prepared.
The library will receive 1,000 special glasses approved for viewing the eclipse thanks to a grant from STAR_Net, Science-Technology Activities and Resources for Libraries, part of the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning. The glasses have a filter approved for looking directly at the sun. Viewing with regular sunglasses or with the naked eye can cause permanent damage to the retina.
Some of the free glasses will be donated to schools, and a portion are for those registered for the library’s eclipse-related educational programs. The remainder will be distributed at the library beginning Aug. 10.
“I think we could have given away 1,000 more,” said children’s librarian Julie Myers, who submitted the grant request.
To prepare residents for the eclipse and what to expect, two educational programs will outline the basics.
On Aug. 10 Glenn McDonald, a local astronomy enthusiast, will explain the science behind the eclipse and guidelines for safe viewing.
Then the Link Observatory Space Science Institute brings two Eclipse Across America sessions to the library on August 14. Using animation along with video and imagery from NASA the presentation will explain why an eclipse happens, share a diagram of the path and describe the sights and sounds experienced during an eclipse. Former NASA contractor, Greg McCauley, will lead the multimedia event.
While some programs are already full there is room for the 8 p.m. Eclipse Across America program on Aug. 14. Myers encourages visitors to come by the library the day of the eclipse to watch a special Megamovie from 2 to 4 p.m. as images taken during the eclipse are shared by Google and UC Berkely.
“I think this is a really fun way to bring education to life,” Myers said. “It doesn’t happen very often, so it’s special. It really fits with our goal of lifelong learning.”