Local libraries distributing eclipse glasses

Libraries in the Carl Elliott Regional Library (CERL) system are distributing 1,000 pairs of eclipse glasses leading up to the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. The glasses will protect the wearer’s eyesight during the first total eclipse visible in the continental United States in almost 40 years. CERL director Sandra Underwood said the Jasper Public Library has approximately 650 glasses on hand. The remaining glasses are available through branches in Arley, Carbon Hill, Double Springs, Haleyville and Sumiton. On Aug. 21, the Jasper Public Library will also be hosting a viewing party of NASA TV’s four-hour special, “Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA.” More than 2 million pairs of glasses were given away to libraries throughout the United States as a result of a collaboration among the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Google, the National Science Foundation and NASA. NASA and the National Science Foundation both support the STAR Library Education Network, which provides science-technology activities and resources to libraries. Libraries also received a 24-page guide to the All-American eclipse, which is available to the public at www.starnetlibraries.org/EclipseGuide.

A total eclipse of the sun occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, darkening the sky and making the sun’s atmosphere visible. The Aug. 21 eclipse will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. Locally, the eclipse will only be partial, meaning a portion of the sun will still be visible. The total phase of the eclipse will last for less than three minutes and will begin locally around 1:27 p.m. The eclipse will take approximately 90 minutes to cross the United States. Locally, it will last from 11:58 a.m. to 2:54 p.m. The next eclipse to cover the continental U.S. will occur in April 2024 and will include a different set of states.