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Farmington Valley Libraries, Children's Museum Among Locations To View Solar Eclipse

The Farmington Library, the Simsbury Public Library, and the Children's Museum, in West Hartford, are among the places the public can safely view the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

At the Farmington Library, an event will be held from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Leah Farrell, the library's community services coordinator, said the peak of the eclipse is expected to be around 2:30 p.m., so people are recommend to come then. The library will be handing out viewing glasses to patrons.

The last total solar eclipse in the United States to stretch from coast to coast occurred in 1918. Knowing this, Farrell and the library wanted to mark the occasion with an event.

"It's nice to have everybody gather," Farrell said. "It's a community event seeing this together while this really cool thing is happening. It's once in a lifetime. We're able to provide the glasses, which some can't afford or don't want to go to the trouble to get."

Safety is important too. To view the solar eclipse, you need the appropriate pair of glasses.

"We want people to be informed about how to do it safely," Farrell said.

At the Simsbury Public Library, the children's department will be hosting an event in the library's large program room, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Stephanie Prato, head of the children's department, said they recommend people register for their event at simsburylibrary.info/events, because they only have 100 glasses to distribute.

Prato said they made sure to buy their glasses through a verified seller.

"People trust that the public library is reliable," Prato said. "We are always looking for opportunity to provide fun and education. We'll do an explanation of the eclipse and then we'll give people their glasses and they can stay on the lawn and see it."

Prato said the library has been getting calls about the solar eclipse as more and more people become aware of it.

In her mind, this is another way the library can provide enriching opportunities to the public. They will have NASA's live stream broadcasting as well.

"It's a great opportunity for public libraries, because it's something where we are providing access to the event with the glasses," Prato said. "It's an educational opportunity so we're providing some learning and instruction. It's something more people are becoming aware of and will be pretty excited about, since it's a relatively rare occurrence. They are calling and looking for the glasses and looking for the opportunity to experience this."

At the Children's Museum, visitors who purchased a general admission ticket will be able to take advantage of the science equipment.

From 1:20 to 4 p.m., the museum will have educators stationed with a special telescope, equipped with a solar filter that will make direct viewing of the solar eclipse safe.

Noreen Grice, the museum's planetarium manager, said it's very important to not buy the wrong eclipse glasses online that aren't up to standard. She also said that if you're using a solar filter on your telescope, it should be a filter that attaches to the tip of the telescope and not the part you look into. Grice said their filter allows one millionth of the sun's light into the telescope.

Grice said that because of Connecticut's position north from the eclipse's path of totality, the view will be of a partial eclipse. The maximum partial eclipse will be visible at 2:45 p.m.

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