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Lights out

By Blair Yankey - byankey@perutribune.com

Local sky gazers will be out on Aug. 21 when the Peru Public Library hosts an Eclipse Party.

The fun kicks off on Monday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m. –  the best time to view the total solar eclipse, the first over the U.S. since 1979. 

The library will be providing 100 free solar eclipse viewing glasses. Residents must be in attendance to receive one pair of glasses per person and they will provided while supplies last.

The special glasses are recommended, since it’s never safe to look directly at the sun, even when it’s partly obscured, according to NASA. 

If glasses are no longer available or the patron doesn’t want to go outside, the library will also offer a live feed from NASA of the eclipse in the Psi Lota Xi Auditorium.

Library Director Maryann Farnham said the idea for the event started with a conversation among staff. “We thought it would be fun, because we were interested in it and they’re calling it the Great American Eclipse, so we thought ‘let’s just throw a party,’” Farnham said.

Although most children will be in school during the viewing and party, Farnham said she’s anticipating that their parents and grandparents will attend.

“I’m hoping that those who do attend come for the love of seeing this natural phenomenon happen,” she said. “It’s not every day we get to experience an eclipse, especially something of this magnitude. We’re supposed to have 90-percent coverage in this area, so it should be pretty neat to see.”

The moon will start to eclipse the sun at 12:57 p.m., eclipse most of the sun at 2:24 p.m. and quit eclipsing at 3:47 p.m.

The party is scheduled from 2 to 3 p.m., but guests are welcome to stay later if they wish. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.

There are Four Types of Eclipses

According to NASA.gov, there are four types of solar eclipses:

"A TOTAL ECLIPSE happens when the moon completely covers the sun. Here, the observer is standing under the umbral shadow of the moon. In a total solar eclipse, the sun’s outer atmosphere can be seen. The brighter stars and the planets come out. Animals change their behavior. Birds and squirrels nest. Cows return to the barn. Crickets chirp. There is a noticeable drop in both light level and air temperature. It's an eerie feeling. Totality can last for no more than about seven and a half minutes, but is usually less than three minutes long.

A PARTIAL ECLIPSE occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, off center and only a portion of the sun’s disk is obscured. 

An ANNULAR ECLIPSE occurs when the moon passes dead center in front of the sun but, because the moon’s orbit is elliptical and so is sometimes closer and sometimes further from Earth, it appears too small to fully cover the disk of the sun.

A HYBRID ECLIPSE is a combination of total and annular eclipses. The eclipse begins as one type and ends as another."

For more info, visit: eclipse2017.nasa.gov