LASALLE — It wasn’t all that long ago that people were frightened by the superstitions surrounding eclipses. While we now have a better understanding of what’s happening when the moon falls into shadow and creates a lunar eclipse or when the sun is blocked by the moon causing a solar eclipse, many still have questions.
An upcoming program at 6 p.m. on June 22 at the LaSalle Public Library will provide the curious with answers about the upcoming solar eclipse which will occur in August. “Get Ready: NASA Total Solar Eclipse” will be hosted by James Joel Knapper, a NASA Solar System Ambassador.
According to the NASA website, the Solar System Ambassadors Program works with volunteers across the nation to share in the excitement of NASA’s space exploration missions and to discuss recent discoveries with people in their local communities.
There are currently 730 Ambassadors in 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Guam. The ambassadors are space enthusiasts from various walks of life who are interested in providing greater service and inspiration to their communities.
“This program will help audience members to better understand what exactly happens during a solar eclipse, and what is meant by “the path of totality,” librarian Donna Blomquist said.
On Aug. 21, residents will have a rare opportunity to locally experience a partial solar eclipse and those who are downstate will experience a total solar eclipse. For the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will cross our country. In Southern Illinois the blackout will last about two minutes and 40 seconds, longer than anywhere else along its path.
However, viewing a partial eclipse with the naked eye is dangerous and care must be taken. The only way to safely view it is by using specially made solar viewers or filters. You also shouldn’t look at the eclipse through unfiltered cameras, telescopes or binoculars. The concentrated solar rays will cause serious injuries to your eyes.
According to the American Astrological Society, only three manufacturers have certified their eclipse glasses and hand-held viewers that meet the international safety standards for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics and Thousand Oaks Optical.
Two additional library family nights, which have yet to be announced, will also focus on the total solar eclipse and how to safely view it. These programs are free, open to the public and for all ages. The LaSalle Public Library is located at 305 Marquette in LaSalle. For more information, please call 815-223-2341.