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UMass Dartmouth invites public to eclipse viewing party

The observatory at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. (UMassD)

The Physics Department at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is throwing a solar eclipse viewing party on Monday, weather permitting.

The event will be held at the UMassD observatory from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The eclipse will be at its peak in the South Coast area at about 2:45 p.m.

The viewing party is free and open to the public.

The Physics Department will provide free ISO-certified viewing glasses, and will have posters and physicists on hand to provide information and explain the science on solar eclipses. More information is available from the Department of Physics at 508-999-8354 or on its Facebook page.

Observatory director Alan Hirshfield explained why the eclipse is generating intense public interest.

"It’s the fact that it is viewable from a wide swath of the U.S. The total eclipse path is a transcontinental strip around 60 miles wide stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The previous total solar eclipse over the continental U.S. was in 1979, over the Pacific Northwest, and the next one in 2024. Around here, the sun will be about 65 percent eclipsed at maximum," Hirshfield said in a news release.

Eye protection must be worn at all times when viewing the partially eclipsed sun.

UMD gave a rain date of April 8, 2024, the date of the next solar eclipse across North America.

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