Thursday , September 21 2017
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In 1960, unsafe solar eclipse viewing caused hundreds of people to suffer permanent eye damage. These fifth graders at an elementary school in Illinois avoided that fate by following the directions published in LIFE magazine to build their own pinhole projector. The magazine’s most humorous eclipse viewing tip when using this type of viewer: “Don’t forget to come out for fresh air.” For information on safely viewing the solar eclipse, visit NASA’s website or come to the NM Museum of Space History on August 21 for the free solar eclipse activities. (photo courtesy LIFE)

Solar Eclipse Viewing Event Monday at NM Museum of Space History

All across the country people are preparing for the solar eclipse, whether they are in the path of totality or not.

Since Wednesday, August 9, staff  at the Museum of Space History have handed out 1,000 solar eclipse glasses to area residents and schools.

The glasses are no longer available prior to the eclipse, but the museum plans to have a limited number on hand for the eclipse viewing activities on Monday, August 21, beginning at 10:30 am.

“We’re delighted that so many people came up to get their solar eclipse glasses and hope that everyone remembers to view the eclipse safely. We’ll be offering several ways for people to see the eclipse on Monday, including an opportunity for you to build your own pinhole eclipse viewer,” said Museum Executive Director Chris Orwoll.

In New Mexico, totality will reach only about 67% but it will still be a significant event. The New Mexico Museum of Space History is planning a solar eclipse party beginning at 10:30 on August 21, with eye safe ways for you and your family to view the eclipse.

The museum is offering several activities for eclipse day, including a live feed from NASA of the total solar eclipse coverage along with webcasts from other sources, a workshop to teach you to create your own eye safe pinhole solar eclipse viewer, and Education Director Dave Dooling will talk about what causes eclipses and how they helped scientists discover the true nature of the Sun.

All of these activities are free to the public and will be held on the first floor of the museum beginning at 10:30.

At 11:30, a few minutes before maximum at 11:47:51 a.m., activities will move to the museum patio for observing through a Sunspotter and an H-alpha solar telescope as well as the pinhole viewers and eclipse glasses.

In addition, the museum will have free eclipse glasses available while supplies last for event participants.

The eclipse glasses were donated by a local Astronomy Group and were provided through a grant by the Sunspot Community and are certified by the Astronomical League. Museum activities will end at 1:30 p.m.

All activities are free and open to the public.

The New Mexico Museum of Space History, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 575-437-2840 or toll free 1-877-333-6589 or visit the website or like their Facebook Page.

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