As Minnesotans, our love for the Great Outdoors comes in many forms. Whether you enjoy fishing, birding, hunting, or hiking, the outdoor enthusiast spectrum has many colors. One outdoor activity that may not come to mind immediately is astronomy. But just think about it for a moment – you spend time outdoors in a remote field far away from light pollution enjoying the fresh air and observing the wonders of nature. It has all the ingredients for a fun outdoor activity. With that being said, let’s talk about our Nation’s upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st. The good thing about this astronomical phenomenon is that you don’t need to stay up late or head to uncharted parts of the state – weather permitting that is. Here in Minnesota, we will be able to see a partial solar eclipse from 11:45 am – 2:30 pm when the Moon will almost completely cover the Sun.
As much as I would like to stay in Minnesota to see a total solar eclipse, it might take a while. In other words, I won’t be holding my breathe. The last total eclipse that cast its shadow on us was back in June of 1954 and we won’t see it again until September 2099. That’s why, regrettably, I won’t be sticking around. If you’re feeling adventurous too, you can head on down to Missouri, Southern Illinois, or Kentucky to see a once in a lifetime solar event. Or you could go even further as the path of totality will travel from coast to coast for the first time since 1918. Don’t be caught off guard with last minute plans, camping spaces and motels are filling up fast.
Partial solar eclipses are not that rare, we’ve had dozens of them here in Minnesota over the last century and they often go unnoticed because the Moon only covers the Sun by 10-60% (not enough to notice dimming light as you go about your day, especially if it’s cloudy). On the 21st, Minnesotans will see an 85% partial eclipse and that IS enough to notice changes in light and color around you. One word of warning though: if you want to look directly at the partial eclipse, you will need protective eye wear. I cannot stress this enough. It is not safe to view a partial solar eclipse directly unless you are wearing ISO and CE certified viewing glasses or #14 welder’s glass. No sun glasses! They will not protect your eyes well enough to avoid long-term damage. If you’re unable to buy ISO and CE certified viewing glasses, never fear. Check with your local library to see if they are one of the 5,000 libraries across the country who received free solar viewing glasses. I stocked up so if you’re lucky enough to know me, I may have already gifted you a pair.
If the weather is fair, you have your certified viewing glasses on hand, and you’re out enjoying a beautiful Minnesota summer day on Monday, August 21st, take a moment to look up and enjoy the eclipse! Do you want to find the best places in Minnesota to see the partial solar eclipse? Click here! And if you have a story to tell or travel somewhere, I’d love to hear about it! Shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org