This Monday, Aug. 21, the continental United States will see its first total solar eclipse in 38 years. Though the path of “totality” — a 70-mile wide band where the moon will completely block the sun — is about 928 miles away from Juneau, the entire U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse.
In Juneau, the eclipse peaks at 9:19 a.m., when the moon will obscure about 56 percent of the sun. If you don’t have eye wear designed for an eclipse, you’re not ready to view the phenomenon directly as staring into the sun can burn your retinas and cause you to go blind.
Sunglasses are not good enough protection.
The National Weather Service is calling for clouds and rain for Monday, which will mean eclipse effects might be hard to notice locally, said University of Alaska Southeast astronomy professor Rosemary Walling.
“Someone would have to intentionally be looking for changes in sky brightness, but the changes would be gradual from the start of our Juneau partial eclipse at 8:18 a.m. to the end at 10:24 a.m. Best to keep an eye on NWS, but if it’s cloudy I think noticing the brightness change would be very hard,” Walling wrote in an email to the Empire.
According to NASA, observing a change in brightness is difficult if the eclipse is less than 75 percent total. Mountains pose an additional problem for viewing the eclipse in Juneau, Walling added. Eclipse viewers will need to consider a location with a clear view 20 degrees and higher above the horizon from 10 to 41 degrees south of due east along the horizon, she said.
Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum at 395 Whittier St., will host eclipse-related activities starting at 8:30 a.m. If skies are clear, the SLAM will provide a limited number of eclipse-viewing glasses for participants. If weather doesn’t cooperate, there will be space activities inside the museum, where a livestream of the total eclipse starts in the lecture hall at 9 a.m. Regular museum admission rates will apply for the event.
According to Walling’s research, there were three total solar eclipses in Alaska in the 20th century, the last being on June 10, 1972; there will be two more in the 21st century, with the next one will take place in 2033. None of these have or will show totality from Juneau.