11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
There are lots of places in the U.S. to witness a rare, total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017, but southeast Texas is not one of them. For the benefit of people who live in this part of the world, The Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences (the Center) and the BASF Planetarium will host a solar eclipse viewing on that day. Visitors can be confident that they will see the eclipse, even if it rains, as the BASF Planetarium will show the live eclipse feed from NASA on the planetarium’s ceiling.
Outside, sky watchers can observe the partial eclipse with the aid of special viewing glasses and the assistance of the Brazosport Astronomy Club. “We want to create access to this celestial happening for local sky watchers,” said Judi James, director of the BASF Planetarium. “For those watching the eclipse outside with our special viewing glasses or from the air-conditioned comfort of the planetarium, this is something we think people here will enjoy and appreciate.” When asked what the local impact of the eclipse would be, James stated that “car and street lights will come on because of the diminished sunlight, but nothing any more serious than that.”
The Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences BASF Planetarium is located at 400 College Blvd., Clute, Texas.
Leading up to the eclipse, the BASF Planetarium will feature programs about the event. To learn those details, go to: http://bcfas.org/planetarium/.
Special Viewing Glasses Needed
For those who want a more authentic experience, special viewing glasses are available for sale at the Center Box Office on a first come basis. “Looking into the sun to see the eclipse is a terrible idea that will cause eye injuries including blindness,” James said. “We have a good number of viewing glasses for sale to people now, but sales are brisk, so for those planning to get them, waiting is not advised.” The glasses are $2.00 a pair and are endorsed by NASA.
Center Activities on August 21, 2017
- All activities will take place in BASF Planetarium parking lot and inside the planetarium.
- To help children understand what is happening, there will be solar eclipse demonstrations led by Center volunteers. (All children must be accompanied by an adult).
- There will be several scale models of the eclipse for teens and adults.
- Also several different methods for people to use while viewing the eclipse in a safe and responsible way. These include the NASA approved glasses, methods to project the eclipse as it happens, and the NASA feed showing the total eclipse inside the planetarium.
What to Know and Look for on August 21, 2017.
- The eclipse will begin here at 11:46 a.m. and will take a couple of hours to complete.
- The maximum coverage of the moon over the sun will occur at 1:16 p.m. local time.
- Here in Brazosport, there will be nearly 70% coverage, which is enough to cause street and car lights to come on, some stars to be visible and fool nocturnal animals and birds.
- The eclipse will end at 2:45 p.m.
Solar Eclipse Background
The Aug. 21, 2017, eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since 1979 — and the first that has traversed the entire continent coast-to-coast since June 8, 1918. The moon’s shadow will cut an approximately 70-mile-wide path diagonally across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Weather permitting, those in the path will experience an ethereal twilight with a naked-eye view of the sun’s million-degree atmosphere called the corona. Anticipation and energy for this eclipse is off the charts!
A partial eclipse occurs when the moon covers only a part of the sun, anywhere in North America. To see a total eclipse, where the moon fully covers the sun for a short few minutes, viewers must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon, around 70 miles wide, that will cross the U.S. from West to East.
The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT. Totality begins there at 10:16 a.m. PDT. Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT. From there the lunar shadow leaves the United States at 4:09 EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.