County public library prepared for coming of total eclipse

By: By Leah Tietje-Davis - Contributing columnist

Excitement is building at the library for the total solar eclipse crossing the continental U.S. on Aug. 21. This is the first total eclipse since 1979, and the first time since 1918 that it is crossing the country from coast to coast.

A total eclipse is when the sun is completely hidden by the moon. The sky becomes dark, and the sun’s corona becomes visible. However, only a partial eclipse, where the moon covers only a portion of the sun, will be seen from this area. The partial eclipse will begin at 1:17 p.m. and end at 4:07 p.m. Be sure to find a great spot outside during the maximum eclipse, which will occur for Lumberton at 2:46 p.m.

According to a recent press release, NASA recommends that people who plan to view the eclipse should check the safety authenticity of solar glasses to ensure they meet basic proper safety viewing standards. Manufacturers such as American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, and Thousand Oaks Optical have been approved by NASA. Eclipse viewing glasses should meet the following basic criteria: have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard; have the manufacture’s name and address printed somewhere on the product; and not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses. Do not use homemade filters. Ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers.

Be aware that the sun’s rays can cause serious damage to the sensitive tissues of the eyes without an individual being immediately aware of it. Please heed all safety precautions, especially when viewing a partially eclipsed sun.

The Robeson County Public Library received glasses via the Moore Foundation grant that meet and exceed NASA’s criteria and are completely safe for direct solar viewing. Starting Monday, the library will be distributing glasses on a first-come, first-served basis. Each individual who is requesting solar glasses will need to be present at the library in order to receive a pair, and that includes children.

All children ages 8 to 12 are welcome to Sci-Fri S.T.E.M. time on Friday, from 4 to 5 p.m. This month S.T.E.M. Club members will build a pinhole projector. Pinhole projectors are an easy and safe way to view a solar eclipse — and they are a lot of fun to make! They can be constructed using common materials, and participants can experiment with the size of the pinhole to change the projection. If you don’t have eclipse viewing glasses, this is one way to indirectly watch the eclipse.

Join the public library on the day of the eclipse from noon to 3 p.m. for live video streaming from NASA, including images captured before, during and after the eclipse along the path of totality. Solar glasses will be made available to individuals who visit during our eclipse party. The next total solar eclipse to go through the continental U.S. will be on April 8, 2024. Don’t miss experience this unique celestial event.

Leah Tietje-Davis Tietje-Davis

By Leah Tietje-Davis

Contributing columnist

Leah Tietje-Davis is the Adult Services librarian for the Robeson County Public Library.

Leah Tietje-Davis is the Adult Services librarian for the Robeson County Public Library.