NASA experts are stressing the importance of safety in preparation for the solar eclipse on Monday, when many on the Midpeninsula plan to hold viewing events for the phenomenon, which will be visible from the continental U.S. for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The "path of totality," where a full solar eclipse will take place, stretches from the Oregon coast southwest to where South Carolina touches the Atlantic Ocean, in a matter of 90 minutes through the different time zones. It will be the first solar eclipse visible from American soil since 1979 and first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in North America since 1918, NASA officials said.
While the Midpeninsula doesn't fall within the path of totality, it will still result in enough coverage noticeable from the ground. Anyone looking directly at the sun during the eclipse puts themselves at risk for permanent eye damage, according to NASA.
NASA experts recommend that the public use certified eclipse glasses with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard or handheld solar viewer with filters that aren't torn, scratched, punctured or coming loose. Eclipse glasses and solar viewers can be used on top of eyeglasses. People are advised against using a camera lens, telescope, binoculars or other device without a specially designed lens.
Anyone using eclipse glasses or solar viewers should stand still and briefly close their eyes before using the device and not remove the filters while they're looking at the sun.
An inexpensive option for watching the partial solar eclipse is to make a pinhole projector from a cereal box.
During Monday’s City Council meeting, City Manager James Keene called on the community to consider reducing its energy consumption during the solar eclipse estimated to take place from 9:02 to 11:54 a.m. Some energy-saving actions include unplugging electronic devices and large appliances not in use, such as laundry machines.
Palo Alto receives 30 percent of its energy from large-scale solar in the Central Valley and one percent from local rooftop systems, according to Keene.
The state is expected to lose 4,194 megawatts of large-scale solar electricity during the eclipse, but its utilities and grid operator have enough tools to maintain the energy supply, Keene said.
The next opportunity to view a solar eclipse from the continental U.S. will be April 8, 2024, according to NASA.
The Weekly will be collecting your social media posts of the eclipse, whether you're watching the event locally or elsewhere in the country. Be sure to tag the Weekly on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and include #PaloAltoEclipse in your posts to be featured on our Storify page.
Midpeninsula solar eclipse viewing events:
• Total Solar Eclipse Party, Palo Alto City Library
The Mitchell Park Library branch will host a total solar eclipse viewing party for all ages. The Program begins at 9 a.m. with viewing at the courtyard, followed by a party in the Midtown Room at 10 a.m. with a live stream feed, pinhole projector and refreshments. The event will be at 3700 Middlefield Road from 9-11 a.m. Learn more here.
• Solar Eclipse Viewing Party, Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo
Science instructors will be watching the solar eclipse in front of the Junior and Museum and Zoo at 1451 Middlefield Road, 9:45-10:45 a.m. Free. Learn more here.
• The Eclipse! A Viewing Event, Menlo Park Library
The library will provide safety glasses at its entry plaza to watch the solar eclipse an hour before opening. Snacks will also be provided at 800 Alma St., 9-11 a.m. Free. Learn more here.
• The Eclipse! A (RE)Viewing Event, Menlo Park Library
Anyone who missed the morning eclipse can watch a video of the full eclipse without safety glasses projected on a library video screen at 800 Alma St., 6:30-7:30 p.m. Free. Learn more here.
• NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View
Public registration for the center's solar eclipse viewing event has closed due to maximum capacity, but a live stream showing the eclipse from multiple locations, including within the path of totality, will be streamed at nasa.gov/eclipselive starting at 9 a.m. PDT. Ames Research Center expects to see 74 percent of the sun covered at 10:15 a.m.
Check back for more local solar eclipse-related events as they become available.