It’s been nearly a century since the United States was shadowed by a total solar eclipse. And while the Sacramento Valley will only be able to see a partial eclipse, astronomers promise the natural phenomenon will still be surreal.

Glenn County residents have a special opportunity to enjoy the eclipse with fellow astronomy enthusiasts at a viewing party sponsored by the Orland Library. Prior to the eclipse, attendees will be able to browse educational material about the phenomenon while enjoying refreshments and other activities.

“Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to learn more about the solar eclipse from the books we have at the library and see it happening for yourself,” said Jodi Meza, Glenn County librarian, in a press release.

Orland Library will provide special solar viewing glasses for guests, while supplies last. The viewing party will take place Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. in the Community Room. Eclipse time is projected for 10:21 a.m.

Traveling north

The city of Salem, in Oregon, is the nearest location to experience a total solar eclipse. Dr. Rick Fienberg, spokesperson for the American Astronomical Society, told the Appeal-Democrat millions of people are expected to flock to Salem to see the eclipse – planning a last-minute trip might not be a good idea.

“The problem, of course, is there are going to be a lot of people traveling. It’s going to be potentially a zoo,” Fienberg told the paper. “If you make a last-minute decision to travel you may not make it into the path of totality before the start of the eclipse.”

For those who planned a year in advance, Fienberg said viewing the eclipse will be like going from day to night. But for those of us living in areas that will only see a partial eclipse, he said we can still expect to see a good show.

“It’s kind of weird when the sun shrinks to a crescent,” he said. “It’s much more satisfying to look up at the sun and see the bite taken out of it.”

Fienberg reminded sky gazers to only look directly at the eclipse using special viewing glasses – sunglasses offer no protection. While shopping for eclipse gear, make sure glasses are printed with “ISO 12312-2” to ensure legitimacy.

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