Eclipse, News

Viewing Guide to the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024

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NORTHEAST KINGDOM – “On April 8, at 2:14 p.m., a partial solar eclipse will begin, and at 3:26 p.m., a total eclipse will darken Vermont’s daytime sky, lasting about three minutes. The phenomenon will continue as a partial eclipse until 4:37 p.m.,” says a Vermont State website that continues, “Vermont is expecting thousands of nature-loving residents and visitors to take in the solar eclipse. Here are some resources and reminders for your viewing pleasure, to make sure we aren’t harming our environment or wildlife while seeking to enjoy a rare natural wonder in the Green Mountain State.

“April is mud season. Trails in Vermont will be closed. Mountaintop environments are very fragile at this time of year.”

Eclipse Day Broadcast Event:

Tune in to Vermont Public from wherever you are to experience the eclipse on radio, TV, and livestream on YouTube from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m.

by Diane Grenkow
Ursa Goldenrose watches a 2017 partial solar eclipse in Hardwick.

The audience will join a live broadcast from St. Johnsbury’s Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium with “But Why?” host and executive producer, Jane Lindholm and director of the Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, Mark Breen. They will guide listeners and viewers through the total solar eclipse and share commentary drawing on history, science, and the astonishing experience of being in the path of totality! During this special coverage, Mark and Jane will be looking at solar eclipses from all angles: What are they? Why do they happen? When do they happen? What do animals do during an eclipse? How is this Solar Eclipse significant? When was the last solar eclipse in Vermont? How can people view them safely?

Best Locations for Science that Will Happen Whatever the Weather:

ST. JOHNSBURY – Fairbanks Museum astronomy experts and educators offer a full day of programming.

Experience totality with Jane Lindholm, creator, host, and executive producer of “But Why? A Podcast for Curious Kids,” and Mark Breen, director of our Lyman Spitzer Jr Planetarium and producer of “Eye on the Night Sky.” Starting at noon, the family-friendly event includes:

Interpretation stations with museum educators and volunteers will use models to illustrate how and why eclipses occur. There will be guided craft tables to make and decorate your own pinhole viewer, safety shield, and other activities to enhance your eclipse experience.

A meet and greet and a photo opportunity with Jane Lindholm, host and executive producer of But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids from 1:00 – 1:30 PM and again from 4:00 – 4:30 p.m.

A NASA livestream video of the eclipse as it crosses North America will be shown.

From 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. be in the audience of the live broadcast with “But Why?” host and executive producer, Jane Lindholm and director of the Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, Mark Breen. See broadcast events above for details.

Food trucks offer a variety of local flavors, and downtown St. Johnsbury offers shopping and dining options.

NEWPORT CITY – UPDATE!! The Totality Event has moved to Prouty Beach – 386 Prouty Beach Road, Newport. Wear your boots!” Says the Discover Newport website on April 6.

Gardner Park will host an event from 2 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., Gardner Park Road. The eclipse starts at 2:16:35 p.m. and ends at 4:38:13 p.m. The peak of the eclipse, when the moon’s disk covers the sun as fully as it will, will be at 3:29:23 p.m. EDT. Totality will last 3 minutes and 35 seconds. The first 500 people will get free eclipse viewing glasses.

William Vinton, an esteemed educator from the Northeast Kingdom Astronomy Foundation, will be on hand to speak about this celestial event. Musician Kyle Chadburn will be there to add musical accompaniment to your eclipse experience.

The event, on Gardner Park Rd. is set to proceed rain or shine. There will be plenty of parking.

Town Events:

BARTON – Crystal Lake State Park will be open for eclipse Viewing beginning at 2 p.m., 96 Bellwater Avenue Barton.

CRAFTSBURY – Total solar eclipses are rare events. Any one location on Earth can expect to see one every 375 years or so. Craftsbury will be in the path of totality. Everyone is invited to an eclipse viewing party on the Common from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Follow signs for free parking at Dustan Field or Auld Lange Syne Road to help keep the Common passable for school traffic.

There will be free eclipse glasses for the first 500 participants and a solar telescope projecting this rare celestial event. A Storywalk of A Few Beautiful Minutes about the solar eclipse will be set up around the Common. In the event of inclement weather, there will be a livestream of the eclipse on the big screen inside the library. The Craftsbury PTO will be selling snacks and eclipse merchandise.

For more information, contact the library at 802-586-9683.

GREENSBORO – The Greensboro Free Library has eclipse viewing glasses. Stop in when the library is open and ask at the front desk. https://greensborofreelibrary.org/

Highland Lodge is hosting a solar eclipse watch party with Caja Madera from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be fire pits going and live music. First come, first serve tickets include: NASA Grade Viewing Glasses, two tacos, and a drink from the outdoor bar. This is an outdoor event, dress accordingly. highlandlodge.com

photo by Pail Fixx A view of the 2017 partial,solar eclipse in Hardwick as seen through a projection device in place of the eyepiece.

HARDWICK — Jeudevine Memorial Library staff will be in Hardwick’s Memorial park (across the street from the library) from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., with safe solar viewing glasses while they last, a display of how the eclipse works, and a model you can walk of this part of the solar system! 

IRASBURG – University of Irasburg Solar Eclipse Party, Leach Public Library, 130 Park Ave. beginning at 1 p.m. Eclipse glasses will be available. Bring a chair and watch on the common. www.leachpubliclibrary.org/

ST. JOHNSBURY – Papa Tirozzi Bakery & Pizza, 1-4 p.m. 2165 Portland Street (Route 2). Kids activities, a special menu, lawn games, dog friendly.

Green Mountain Mall lawn, Memorial Drive.

WALDEN – The Walden Community Library, 135 Cahoon Farm Road, West Danville, will be holding a total solar eclipse party from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. to witness and learn about the once-in-a-lifetime celestial event. There will be learning activities, a backyard bonfire, and treats around the fire for the partial eclipse phases before and after as well.

Totality will occur for just a few minutes starting at 3:28. Vermont saw its last total solar eclipse in 1932 and won’t see another until 2106.

Eclipse glasses will be available to use, and there will be other simple tools available to safely view and experience phenomena surrounding the eclipse. New eclipse and astronomy books will be available to peruse or borrow.

WOLCOTT – The Wolcott Community Garden welcomes you to “A Total Eclipse in the Park” at Depot Park, 28 Railroad Street, between the Wolcott Town Office and the Library, starting at 1 p.m. Pick up viewing glasses ahead of time in the Town Office, or there may be some left that day.

Wolcott Creative Collective will have activities, and provide “selfi-worthy” stations so you can create great photo memories of this once in a lifetime Vermont occurrence. A local yoga instructor will lead those of us who wish to partake in Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations. Location: 28 Railroad Street, between the Wolcott Town Office and the Library.

VERMONT STATE LANDS – April is mud season in Vermont, and State Lands trails will be closed for use. People should watch the eclipse at planned events or open and developed areas. Please visit Trail Finder for more information about trail closures and eclipse etiquette.

VERMONT STATE PARKS – A limited number of Vermont State Parks will be open during the eclipse. These locations will have open parking areas and port-a-potties. However, please be aware that, as the eclipse falls outside of the VT State Park’s usual season, the permanent bathroom facilities will still be closed. These parks include: Bomoseen, Boulder Beach, Branbury, Crystal Lake, DAR, Elmore, Emerald Lake, Mt. Philo, Grand Isle, Knight Point, Lake Shaftsbury, Lake St. Catherine, Little River, Niquette Bay, Silver Lake, and Waterbury Center.

LYNDONVILLE – Eclipse viewing glasses can be recycled at the NEK Waste Management (NEKWMD) Hub, 224 Church St, Lyndonville VT.

Totality for the solar eclipse will only last a few minutes but the glasses to keep your eyes protected will linger on for quite a bit longer, hundreds of years longer since the lenses are plastic.

NEKWMD is partnering with Astronomers Without Borders to collect used glasses for future use. See what they do at https://my.astronomerswithoutborders.org/home. Did you know there is a solar eclipse twice a year? Somewhere in the world, there will be other solar eclipse events. Members of the district can drop off any glasses that are in good shape for reuse. They will be stored until Astronomers Without Borders has a need for glasses elsewhere in the world.

If the lens gets scratched or they get ripped, you can recycle the paper part of the glasses by removing the lens. As is the case with most plastics, the lenses are trash.

Let’s hope the huge amount of people visiting our beautiful state for this event doesn’t mean huge amounts of glasses littered everywhere.

Keep Vermont clean and green, folks!

Paul Fixx is editor of The Hardwick Gazette and lives in Hardwick.

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