BOULDER CITY, NV (KXNT) – A rare solar eclipse is taking place on August 21 — and America’s national parks are getting in on it.
A number of parks around the United States will be premier viewing sites for a rare solar eclipse that will be crossing the U.S. August 21. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is holding a free viewing party at the visitor center from 9 a.m. to noon.
The 2017 eclipse is the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States since February 26, 1979. Prior to that, the last eclipse to traverse from coast to coast was June 8, 1918.
August 21, the moon’s shadow will race across the land, crossing from the Oregon coast to the point where South Carolina meets the Atlantic Ocean in just one and a half hours. Throughout the continental United States, people outside the path of totality will witness a partial eclipse, as the shadow of the moon covers or eclipses some portion of the sun.
At Lake Mead, 71 percent of the sun will be eclipsed. The eclipse will begin at 9:09 a.m. and end at 11:53 a.m. with a peak at 10:28 a.m.
During the eclipse, natural sunlight will be disrupted as the moon moves directly between the sun and Earth, casting its shadow on the ground below. Visitors can safely view the eclipse with ranges at the Lake Mead Visitor Center using a solar telescope and solar glasses.
The National Park Service is encouraging visitors to prepare to have a safe viewing opportunity during the eclipse. Looking at the sun directly, even just the sliver of sun visible before the total eclipse, can cause permanent eye damage. Homemade sun filters and regular sunglasses don’t provide sufficient eye protection.
Also do not look at the sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars or other optical device without a specially designed filter. The sun can damage the camera sensor and harm your eyes.
For more information about the eclipse and for interactive maps, visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov. For more information about the viewing party, call 702-293-8990.
If you miss this one, the next solar eclipse visible from the United States will be on April 8, 2024.