It’s been nearly 100 years since a solar eclipse was visible from coast to coast in the United States. That’s why it’s such a big deal that the Evanston Public Library has scheduled a number of programs to prepare everyone for the 2017 eclipse, which will occur on August 21.

Another consideration is that, unlike a lunar eclipse, viewing a solar eclipse without protective gear to protect your eyes can damage your eyesight, even if you don’t feel pain at the time.

That’s why one of the principal activities at the programs will be the creation of eclipse viewers through which you can safely view the eclipse.

It won’t get really dark in Evanston, as it will in downstate Illinois where the moon will completely obliterate the surface of the sun. But we will reach 89 percent totality, so it will certainly be something worth experiencing, according to library officials.

Experts from the Chicago Astronomer and Northwestern University’s Physics and Astronomy departments will be participating in the programs, scheduled for July 25, from 10 to 11 a.m.; July 31, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.; August 12, from 10 to 11 a.m; and August 16, from 7 to 8 p.m. 

The actual viewing party will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Main Library, Orrington Avenue at Church Street. The first 120 visitors to the viewing party will receive free eclipse viewing glasses as part of a grant from the Space Science Institute, received from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

“We invite everyone to learn more about the eclipse, have fun preparing for it, and enjoy it safely,” said Kim Kaufmann, the Children’s Librarian, who is in charge of planning the eclipse programs. 

Additional information is available on the library’s website.

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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