Eclipse Viewing at UMaine is ‘Made in the Shade’

Students and their families, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the extended Black Bear community and the public can participate in the viewing of a partial solar eclipse starting at noon on Saturday, Oct. 14 (weather permitting) at the Clark Telescope on the grounds of the Versant Power Astronomy Center at the University of Maine. In Maine, we will only see between 12-15% of the sun covered during the eclipse as the Moon passes between the sun and the Earth.

Shawn Laatsch, director of the Versant Power Astronomy and the Maynard Jordan Planetarium, stressed the importance of safety when viewing a solar eclipse. “Never look at the sun directly during an eclipse without proper protection,” he said. “Doing so can cause eye damage.”

Anyone interested in observing the eclipse safely can purchase glasses available in the planetarium’s gift shop for $2 each.

While observing will begin at noon, the partial eclipse itself will run from 12:26 p.m. to 2:27 p.m. Campus visitors are welcome to see the partial eclipse from the university’s Clark Telescope.

“As the Moon passes between the Earth and the sun, it casts its shadow on our planet,” said Laatsch. “In a very real sense, solar eclipses are ‘made in the shade’ of the moon.”

The partial solar eclipse viewing is one of many events being offered at UMaine as part of Homecoming/Family and Friends Weekend. which includes special planetarium programs all day Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15.  More information about Homecoming and Family and Friends Weekend events are available online.

The Versant Power Astronomy Center and Maynard Jordan Planetarium offer a continuously changing line-up of programs and special events to the public. It works to help students better understand our universe through school field trips, space-based parties and other special events. To learn more, call the astronomy center at 207.581.1341 or visit the center’s School Visits and Private Shows webpages.