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Near Total Eclipse To Be Visible In Newtown



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Newtown residents have an exciting chance to witness an almost complete eclipse of the sun beginning at around 2:12 pm Monday, April 8.

The last times Connecticut saw eclipses was a partial eclipse in 1994, and an eclipse in 2007 where the sun wasn’t covered nearly as much in 1994.

On April 8, the sun will be 91.6% covered, according to NASA.

NASA stated that the total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The total solar eclipse will begin over the South Pacific Ocean. Weather permitting, the first location in continental North America that will experience totality is Mexico’s Pacific coast at around 11:07 am PDT.

The path of the eclipse continues from Mexico, entering the United States in Texas, and traveling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Small parts of Tennessee and Michigan will also experience the total solar eclipse. The eclipse will enter Canada in Southern Ontario, and continue through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton. The eclipse will exit continental North America on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 pm NDT. In total, 32 million Americans will be along the path of the totality.

Each of the 48 continental states will see some of the solar eclipse, which occurs when the moon slips between the sun and Earth. NASA has a map at science.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/eclipse-2024/where-when/ that is searchable by ZIP code.

For Newtown, the partial eclipse begins at 2:12 pm, the near totality begins at 2:53 pm, the maximum is at 3:26 pm, the near totality ends at 3:59 pm, and the partial ends at 4:37 p.m. Monday’s forecast calls for some clouds, with a high of 61 degrees.

At the April 2 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Chris Melillo shared information about how the district plans to respond to the eclipse.

“This presents a very unique educational opportunity for our students to learn about this phenomenon,” said Melillo. “We will emphasize safety precautions as the sun without proper protection will cause injury. We will also be providing a NASA livestream inside for students who fear that going outside is too dangerous. We will also be providing certified eclipse glasses to all students. We also recognize that families may have concerns, and we encourage communication with our teachers.”

Athletic and outdoor activities will be delayed until 4:30 pm.

Resources will be provided to teachers and principals have plans in place to go through dismissals when the time comes.

Western Connecticut State University has invited the public to witness the partial solar eclipse on the university’s Midtown campus. Weather permitting, astronomy instructors and volunteers will lead safe solar viewing and eclipse-related activities from 1:45 to 3:45 pm outside the Science Building.

While the solar eclipse is a fun and educational opportunity for everyone, there are precautions you should take to help maintain your eye health while safely viewing this spectacle. Looking at a solar eclipse without proper protection may cause serious eye damage, including blurry vision that can last months, or even permanent problems such as “eclipse blindness.”

To help avoid that, here are five tips from Prevent Blindness to help safely view the solar eclipse:

Get protected. It is unsafe to look directly at the sun at any time and during a partial or total solar eclipse, other than if you are in the path of totality during the brief total phase. Proper eclipse viewing glasses, which are heavily tinted — much more so than regular sunglasses — can enable you to see the moon track across the orb of the sun until it creates a total eclipse, revealing the sun’s corona.

Avoid fakes. Use certified solar eclipse glasses, specifically ones that have been reviewed by the International Organization for Standardization, and look out for fake viewers that may be sold. And make sure to read and follow any instructions packaged with or printed on the glasses.

Don’t add other devices. Even while wearing approved solar eclipse glasses, it’s important not to look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Doing so may concentrate the solar rays and damage the filter, enter your eyes, and potentially cause serious injury.

Use caution during the moment of totality. If you are planning to watch the eclipse from along the 13-state path of totality, eclipse glasses should be worn during the entirety of the partial eclipse phase and may only be removed once the moon completely blocks the sun. Once the sun reappears, glasses should be replaced.

The upcoming solar eclipse can be a fun and educational opportunity, provided you take the necessary precautions to protect your eye health.

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