FOX19 - In just about a month, there's going to be a sight in the sky you won't want to miss. For the first time since 1979, the United States will see a total solar eclipse and libraries are helping people view the show.
The total solar eclipse will occur on August 21. Your exact location that day will determine how spectacular a sight it will be.
While the path of the total solar eclipse will stretch across the country, it will only cover an area about 70 miles wide. Everywhere outside of this band of totality will still experience an eclipse, but the sun will not be totally blacked out. In the Cincinnati area, only about 93% of the sun will be blacked out around 2:30 p.m. on the 21st.
If the sun will not be totally blacked out where you are, you're going to need special eclipse viewing glasses. Regular sunglasses, even those with UV protection, are not designed to look directly at the sun for any amount of time, but eclipse glasses are. Thanks to an effort by the Space Science Institute, a version of these eclipse glasses are being distributed at libraries across the country. This includes the Boone and Kenton County Public Libraries here in the Tri-State.
"Since we're not in the path of totality here, there will be enough sunlight that you could potentially damage your eyes if you look at the sun for any length of time without the glasses. It's just a special Mylar film (on the glasses) that makes it safe for looking directly at the sun. You can wear them over regular glasses or as they are," says Jennifer Beach, the Children's Programmer at the Erlanger Library.
There are three solar eclipse educational events sponsored by the Kenton County Public Library where you can get a pair of the eclipse glasses for free. The first event will be at the Erlanger Library on July 24th at 11am for children ages 6-12. The second event will be at Erlanger Depot Park on July 25th and 27th at 10:30am for all ages. The third event will once again be at the Erlanger Library on August 12th at 2pm and is open to all ages.
If they still have eclipse glasses leftover after these events, they will be available for all after August 15th, first come, first served during regular hours at the Erlanger Library. These glasses will be going quick though, so you're encouraged to attend one of the educational events to ensure you get a pair.
The Boone County Public Library will also be handing out free solar eclipse glasses beginning at 12pm the day of the eclipse. The glasses will be available at all five branches until supplies run out.