On Monday, Aug. 21, the moon will block out the sun creating a total solar eclipse in parts of the United States. While Grand Rapids viewers will only see a partial solar eclipse due to the city’s geographic placement, the view is still supposed to be spectacular.
Those planning to watch the eclipse need to wear special solar eclipse glasses or make a pinhole projector as serious damage can occur without them. In other words, do not stare directly into the sun, you could go blind!
If you’d like to watch the eclipse with others, you’re in luck, there are two Grand Rapids venues hosting viewing parties and other activities on Monday.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is hosting an Eclipse Party on Monday from 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., with hands-on activities for attendees.
The museum will offer hands-on solar related activity booths, multiple shows on the half hour of “Eclipses and Phases of the Moon” in the Chaffee Planetarium, and a live stream of the total eclipse will be shown in the Meijer Theater.
Hands on activities for the day include making solar system bracelets, decorating personal eclipse shades, designing and building spacecraft, making eclipse projectors and more.
Activities as part of the Eclipse Party will be included with general admission to the museum. Activities will take place outside, weather permitting. Visitors attending the Grand Rapids Maker Faire on August 19 and 20 will receive free admission to the Eclipse Day Party by wearing their event wristband.
The East Grand Rapids branch of the Kent District Library will also host a viewing party as well as science games and other activities outside on Wege Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Attendees should plan to bring their own solar eclipse glasses. The library said it will have a limited quantity of the special glasses available at its KDL Lab Experience: Space Science event on Saturday and at its solar eclipse party, but likely not enough for everyone who wants a pair. The glasses will be handed out on a first come, first served basis.
*Photo courtesy of Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills
Watch this video from NASA Goddard on how to make your own pinhole projector.