Thousands of hopefully protected eyes will turn to the sky on Monday to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse, even though we in the Southland will only see the sun partially blacked out by the moon.

It’s the first time a full solar eclipse will be visible in the United States since 1979. But viewing the full “totality” of the eclipse will be reserved for people in a roughly 70-mile wide path traversing the United States, beginning in Oregon and continuing through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Southland residents will only see about a 62 percent eclipse, but still enough to grab the interest of star-gazers and astronomy buffs. The eclipse will occur from roughly 9:05 a.m. until just before noon.

Not surprisingly, throngs of sky-buffs will flock to viewing events, most notably at Los Angeles’ astronomical home, the Griffith Observatory. The observatory will be hosting a viewing party, with solar telescopes available for use and staff on hand to answer questions.

If you plan to attend the observatory party, get there early. Very early.

Observatory officials said they are expecting an extremely large crowd, meaning it’ll be particularly difficult to find parking. Visitors are encouraged to take the DASH Observatory bus from Metro’s Vermont/Sunset Red Line station, which will begin running earlier than usual. Visitors were also urged to wear a hat, sunscreen and walking shoes and to bring water, as they may need to walk a substantial distance uphill to get to the observatory with parking expected to be limited.

And — as is the case with all eclipse viewing events — participants need to have approved glasses or other viewing apparatus to protect the eyes.

Viewing events will be held across the Southland, with locations including Caltech, Kidspace Children’s Museum, California Science Center, Glendale Community College, Los Angeles State Historic Park, Los Angeles city and county libraries and UCLA.

For people stuck indoors during the event, technology is there to help. NASA will be streaming footage of the eclipse originating from various vantage points, including one from the International Space Station. The “Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA” broadcast will be available on NASA’s phone apps, YouTube and social media platforms such as Facebook Live, Twitter, Periscope and Ustream.

The next solar eclipse visible in Los Angeles is expected to occur on October 14, 2023.

— City News Service

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