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The 2024 solar eclipse is on the horizon

This Monday, April 8, much of the United States will experience a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, blocking out the sun. Our area will not experience a total eclipse, but our period of maximum coverage will see over 75% of the sun covered.

That will occur around 3:17 p.m., but the moon will begin to move in front of the sun around 2 p.m. with effects lasting until about 4 p.m. However, the period of maximum coverage will only last a few minutes, so you will want to be prepared.

Some areas in the United States, including San Antonio, Indianapolis, and Cleveland will experience a total solar eclipse, a rare occurrence that only occurs once every 400 years in any given place on earth.

To view the eclipse safely, you will need to have proper glasses or a solar viewer. You can grab a pair of glasses online or at places such as Walmart in Tarboro. Remember, it is not safe to look directly at the sun.

One of the best ways to view the eclipse is to head to the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences, where the Tar River Astronomy Club will be gathering. Bring a shoe box, cereal box, or something similar, and they can help you prepare a solar viewer. The Solar Eclipse Viewing begins at 1 p.m.

The Lillie M. Evans Library District in Princeville is working with Princeville High School for a solar eclipse viewing. Starting at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Erik Givens will lead a discussion on solar eclipses. Be sure to check in at the school’s front desk for directions.

Nashville’s Solar Eclipse Party will be on Monday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The viewing party will be on the athletic field behind Nashville Elementary School. A limited number of free solar eclipse glasses will be available. Register to attend here.

In addition to the eclipse viewing you have the chance to participate in a Statewide Star Party this Friday. You can join in the fun by heading to the Imperial Centre to do some stargazing. The event is from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The Tar River Astronomy Club and Imperial Centre staff will be there to help you see Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, and more!

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