On Monday, Aug. 21, viewers across the United States will witness the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years. In a path about 70 miles wide over 14 states, starting from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, and ending near Charleston, South Carolina, the moon will fully cover the sun. Florida is not in this path of totality, but everyone in North America, South America and parts of Europe will get to see a partial solar eclipse. Viewers in Sarasota will see about 70 percent to 80 percent coverage.
Make sure you have protective eyewear for viewing the eclipse. Even if you are witnessing a partial solar eclipse, looking at the sun during the event can severely damage your eyes. Solar glasses can be found at certain stores and museums in Sarasota County, or you can make your own pinhole projection. A list of reputable solar eclipse wear can be found here.
"It’s common sense not to stare directly at the Sun with your naked eyes or risk damaging your vision, and that advice holds true for a partially eclipsed sun," NASA's website states. "Only with special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can safely look directly at the sun."
If you aren't planning on traveling to the stretch of land inside the path of totality, here are two places to view the solar eclipse in Sarasota.
Viewers can gather on the grounds of Selby Gardens from 1-4 p.m. to watch the solar eclipse. The education team at Selby Gardens will provide materials to make a device to safely watch the eclipse for those who do not have glasses.
The Legacy Trail Pavilion at Oscar Scherer State Park will be open to solar eclipse spectators from 1:15-4:15 p.m. Bring a cardboard box or a tube; there will be a pinhole projector crafts table to help you make a tool to view the event. Viewers are free to bring chairs, snacks and beverages. This event is free, but you must pay for parking upon entry.
If you want to make the trek northward, here are two places to view the solar eclipse across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
The MOSI Museum in Tampa will temporarily reopen from 1-3:30 p.m. so viewers can watch the solar eclipse. There will be telescopes to view the eclipse, a star talk and eclipse-viewer building. There will also be experts walking around to answer any questions. This event is free.
The St. Petersburg College Planetarium will be hosting a free event outside of the planetarium building from 1:15 to 4 p.m. Telescopes with solar filters will be available in the quad area.
You can view the eclipse anywhere outside as long as you have protective eye-wear. Other great places to go would be a public park or any of the public beaches in the area. More information on the solar eclipse can be found here.