Where to view (and prep for) Monday’s solar eclipse in the Pioneer Valley

Greenfield resident Kayla Stover and her children Harper, 4, and Lilah, 6, craft eclipse-viewing boxes during a workshop at the Greenfield Public Library on Wednesday.

Greenfield resident Kayla Stover and her children Harper, 4, and Lilah, 6, craft eclipse-viewing boxes during a workshop at the Greenfield Public Library on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Greenfield resident Horace Taft and his granddaughter Helen Taft-Ferguson, 4, craft eclipse-viewing boxes during a workshop at the Greenfield Public Library on Wednesday.

Greenfield resident Horace Taft and his granddaughter Helen Taft-Ferguson, 4, craft eclipse-viewing boxes during a workshop at the Greenfield Public Library on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Children’s Librarian Ellen Lavoie helps patrons make eclipse-viewing boxes during a workshop at the Greenfield Public Library on Wednesday.

Children’s Librarian Ellen Lavoie helps patrons make eclipse-viewing boxes during a workshop at the Greenfield Public Library on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-04-2024 5:01 PM

Editor’s note: The following is a collection of Pioneer Valley events where the public can observe and celebrate the April 8 solar eclipse. Know of an event that isn’t listed? Feel free to send details to news@recorder.com.

Monday’s solar eclipse will begin at approximately 2:15 p.m. and will end at 4:40 p.m.

While the eclipse will reach approximately 95% obscurity at 3:28 p.m., even this little remaining bit of sunlight is still extremely dangerous to view with the naked eye. Throughout the Pioneer Valley, we are outside the path of totality and one must view the eclipse with proper eye protection, such as eclipse glasses or a projector box. Looking at the sun without proper protection can cause severe eye damage, especially if through a lens.

“Partial or annular solar eclipses are different from total solar eclipses — there is no period of totality when the Moon completely blocks the Sun’s bright face,” according to NASA. “Therefore, during partial or annular solar eclipses, it is never safe to look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection.”

Amherst

The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s College of Natural Science and the Department of Astronomy are hosting a free, public gathering to celebrate and observe the eclipse. People are invited to meet on Metawampe Lawn and the UMass Sunwheel beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Astronomers will be on hand to discuss the science behind the eclipse and UMass staff will hand out protective solar shades.

Greenfield

There are several events planned at the Greenfield Public Library, 412 Main St., ahead of the eclipse. On Friday, April 5, teens and adults can stop by the Makerspace between 2 and 4 p.m. to make their own solar eclipse viewer. Supplies are limited, so the public is invited to bring any cardboard tubes they’d like to recycle.

On the day of the eclipse, the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library is partnering with PV Squared to put on an eclipse party featuring a variety of activities. PV Squared will bring its solar-powered trailer and have information about solar energy, eclipses and other sun facts.

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From 1 to 2 p.m., there will be an opportunity for a question-and-answer session with Jon Child, a solar and environmental science expert, who will talk about climate change topics, pole and iceberg research, and solar science. Eclipse glasses will be available at the program.

In the event of rain, the library will be showing a movie from 3 to 5 p.m., which features an eclipse.

Montague

In partnership with Montague Public Libraries, the Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, is hosting “The Great North American Solar Eclipse” on Monday from 2:15 to 4:30 p.m. The public can meet outside on the lawn.

The drop-in program will teach people about the solar system and eclipses, while also hosting activities such as making your own sun clock. Eclipse glasses will available, while supplies last.

Northampton

Forbes Library, 20 West St., is hosting an eclipse viewing party on its lawn from 3 to 4 p.m. Free eclipse glasses will be available, as long as supplies last, and there will be educational resources and demonstrations for all ages.

The program will be led by Molly Watstein, a community support scientist for the Large Millimeter Telescope, an international observatory co-run by UMass Amherst.

If the library’s parking lot is full, visitors may park in the Smith Parking Garage located next door, but only in white-lined spaces on any level.

Smith College is also hosting its own eclipse watch party with the Astronomy Department on the Chapin Lawn from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Free eclipse glasses will be available.

In Florence, Lilly Library will hold an eclipse viewing party on 1:30 to 4 p.m. The party will take place on the lawn to view the partial solar eclipse where 94% of the sun will be obscured by the moon.

A limited supply of solar eclipse glasses will be available at the event. The library is located at 19 Meadow St.

Pioneer Valley Regional School

The community is invited to Pioneer Valley Regional School, 97 F. Turner Drive in Northfield, from 2:30 to 4:15 p.m. for a community viewing event with science and arts activities, crafts, the filling of a time capsule for 2079, a photo booth and the senior class’ Eclipse Snack Shack.

All district students and staff will be provided with eclipse glasses, although family and community members will need to bring their own safe viewing devices.

Shelburne Falls

Arms Library, 60 Bridge St., is hosting a solar eclipse viewing party from 2 to 4 p.m. The public is invited to bring their lawn chairs and snacks as the community gathers to watch the cosmic event.

The library will have solar eclipse glasses available while supplies last, and there will be several eclipse-themed art projects, as well as an informational display.

Williamsburg

The Meekins Library, 2 Williams St., will host a viewing of the partial solar eclipse from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

People can watch from the library patio or view the livestream in the meeting room. A limited number of eclipse glasses and pinhole viewers will be available for attendees, and light refreshments will be provided.