If sky cooperates, even Alaskans can see part of the Great American Eclipse
The Great American Eclipse, as Monday's astronomical event is being billed, will best be viewed from about a dozen states in a path from the Oregon coast, across the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, the Great Plains and then through the Bible Belt, ending off the North Carolina coast.
But all 50 states — yes, even Alaska — will get to see at least a little bit of the eclipse. Though the "Path of Totality," where the moon completely blocks out the sun, is relatively narrow at 71 miles, even on the Kenai, more than 50 percent of the sun's surface will be obscured by the moon.
Ali Jobe is the children's librarian at the Soldotna Public Library, and on Friday (Aug 18), she is giving a presentation all about the eclipse.
"So we're going to do a PowerPoint presentation just kind of explaining what a solar eclipse is and how they can view it," she said. "I’m also going to show them a little short video that NASA provided. And teaching them exactly how an eclipse works."
The most important thing she wants to impart to viewers is not to look right at the sun unless they are wearing eclipse glasses safe for solar viewing. Which, she says, both the Soldotna and Kenai libraries have available.
"Yes, we actually have some here at the library. We have about 200, maybe 300 left. We will be handing them out during the program," Jobe said. "And if we have any left over the day of, one of the librarians will be out in the parking lot handing them out, as well, so that if it's clear, we can see the eclipse."
And if the weather does not cooperate, Jobe says NASA has us covered.
"If we're not clear, NASA is going to be doing a live stream of the event on their website. So that's always an option," she said. "That way you can see the totality, just in case. And that is NASA.gov/eclipselive."
The partial solar eclipse begins in Kenai at 8:20 Monday morning and lasts almost two hours. Jobe says there are good resources online to help visualize what it will be like here.
"There's a little video you can play where it will show you exactly what it will look like. And I am going to show this during the program," she said. "And it will show what time each set will appear, so it says our maximum eclipse will be at 9:14."
Jobe's talk begins at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Soldotna Public Library. Though the presentation is geared for kids, Jobe says anyone is welcome.