A total eclipse of the sun — like the one that will be seen Monday in a 70-mile-wide swath from Oregon to South Carolina — is a dramatic thing. Yes, the sky will darken. But the temperature will drop, and the winds will change, too.
Unfortunately, we here in Philly won’t see that total eclipse in person (unless you’ve already booked a very expensive hotel room somewhere in the total-eclipse path or are OK with sleeping in your car). But that doesn’t mean it should be business as usual for you Monday.
COMING MONDAY: Derrick Pitts, the Franklin Institute’s chief astronomer, will take your solar eclipse questions live on Philly.com’s Facebook page at 3 p.m., just after the eclipse’s peak in Philadelphia.
Though less rare and dramatic than a total eclipse, the partial eclipse that’s happening here at 2:44 p.m. Monday — when the moon will cover almost 80 percent of the sun — is still not an everyday thing. Seeing it is a great way to put your existence into celestial perspective and to teach science to little ones — providing you know what you’re doing and have the right equipment. (Eye protection will be needed throughout the entire event in Philadelphia!)
Here’s a look at the way local organizations are marking the eclipse:
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
The Mann is hosting Super Solar Saturday, with interactive science experiments, face-painting, live performances, and strolling Star Wars characters. The space-themed day finishes with a 7 p.m. screening of Hidden Figures.
12:30 p.m. Saturday (rain date Sunday), 5201 Parkside Ave., 215-546-7900, manncenter.org.
The Franklin Institute
You might expect the home base for celebrity astronomer Derrick Pitts to be all-in on the solar eclipse, and you’d be right. The Franklin’s observation event will feature pinhole-camera workshops, science educators to explain how and why eclipses happen, and monitors set up to show both the NASA feed and Pitts’ live-stream of the total eclipse from St. Joseph, Mo.
Noon-4 p.m. Monday, 222 N. 20th St., $16-20. 215-448-1200, fi.edu.
Wagner Free Institute of Science
The institute will present eclipse model demonstrations and a pinhole-camera workshop in its yard and will screen NASA’s broadcast of the total eclipse in its lecture hall. View the eclipse via the sun funnel telescope (set up for group projected-image viewing) or with eclipse sunglasses the institute will hand out while supplies last.
12:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, weather permitting, 1700 W. Montgomery Ave. (enter on 17th Street). Free. 215-763-6529, wagnerfreeinstitute.org.
Independence Seaport Museum
The museum is hosting a BYO eclipse-watching picnic on its second-floor terrace Monday afternoon. You bring lawn chairs, blankets, and food, and it will have viewing glasses available for $3. Eclipse-watchers will also have access to the museum galleries.
Noon-4 p.m. Monday, weather permitting, 211 S. Columbus Blvd., $12-16. 215-413-8655, phillyseaport.org.
Darby Free Library
The library will hand out viewing glasses at its eclipse-watching event at the nearby Darby Rec Center. In addition, there will be science exhibits and quizzes and the NASA live feed on TVs.
Noon-4 p.m. Monday, 1022 Ridge Ave., Darby. Free. 610-586-7310, delcolibraries.org/darby-free-library.
This eclipse event will feature demonstrations and explanations by a member of the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers, activities for young children, and the chance to see the eclipse through filtered binoculars and telescopes.
1-5 p.m. Monday, weather permitting, 1725 Delmar Drive, Folcroft. Free; preregistration requested. 610-586-1690, folcroftlibrary.org.
Other local libraries holding eclipse-watching parties with free viewing glasses include: Haddonfield Public Library, 60 Haddon Ave., Haddonfield, 856-429-1304, haddonfieldlibrary.org; Free Library of Springfield, 1200 E. Willow Grove Ave., Wyndmoor, 215-836-5300, freelibraryofspringfieldtownship.org; Glenolden Library, 211 S. Llanwellyn Ave., 610-583-1010, delcolibraries.org/glenolden-library; Woodbury Public Library, 33 Delaware St., Woodbury, 856-845-2611, woodburylibrary.org; and Infanti Bellmawr Library, 35 E. Browning Rd., Bellmawr, 856-931-1400, camdencountylibrary.org/bellmawr-branch.
These places not convenient? You can view the eclipse anywhere you can see your shadow — even through a southwest-facing window in your office building — with a safe viewer.
Ordinary sunglasses are not safe viewers. Proper paper solar glasses that will allow you to view the partial eclipse directly must bear the ISO logo and reference number 12312-2 and are available at Warby Parker on Walnut Street, Lowe’s on Columbus Boulevard, the Franklin Institute’s gift shop, and on Amazon.
You can also make a simple pinhole camera to watch the eclipse as a projected image indirectly, or create one with your hands. With your back to the sun, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. When you look at your hands’ shadow on the ground, you should see an image of the sun as a growing crescent in the spaces between your fingers.