The highly anticipated Great American Eclipse is one week away, and the possibilities for viewing it in St. Louis are as vast as the heavens. The St. Louis Eclipse 2017 Task Force estimates that 1.6 million area residents live in the direct path of totality (when the moon completely covers the sun), with areas just to the south of St. Louis blanketed for as much as 2 minutes, 40 seconds of darkness.
As the excitement builds, it’s also important to make sure that safety is a priority. NASA warns that looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (totality), which will happen only within the narrow path of totality. NASA also advises the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight. Make sure that eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers are verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.
In addition, NASA’s guidelines include:
- Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
- Always supervise children using solar filters.
- Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
- Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
- Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
- Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Note that solar filters must be attached to the frontof any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.
- If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
- Outside the path of totality, you must alwaysuse a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.
- If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
There are plenty of things to look for before, during and after totality, including:
- changes in the color and quality of the sky as it gets dimmer
- sharper and more detailed shadows
- unusual behavior in animals (ie: your pets may begin to think it’s bedtime)
- a noticeable drop in temperature
- a stillness in the atmosphere
The 2017 total solar eclipse is the first in St. Louis since 1442 and the first in the continental U.S. in 38 years. Here’s a partial listing of eclipse-related events in and around St. Louis on Monday, Aug. 21:
Luther Ely Square in downtown St. Louis
View the eclipse with the Gateway Arch as a backdrop. Food trucks and free special Solar Eclipse Cookies from Schnucks will on hand.
The Magic House Solar Eclipse Viewing Party
Enjoy sun-sational activities free with museum admission. Free eclipse viewing glasses (while supplies last) will be available
St. Louis County Library Solar Eclipse Watch Parties
Eight branches of the St. Louis County Library that fall within the prime viewing area will host watch parties. Admission is free, and free eclipse glasses (while supplies last) will be available. Participating branches include:
- Cliff Cave Branch, 5430 Telegraph Road, St. Louis, MO 63129, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
- Eureka Hills Branch, 156 Eureka Towne Ctr., Eureka, MO 63025, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
- Grand Glaize Branch, 1010 Meramec Station Rd., Manchester, MO 63021, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
- Grant’s View Branch, 9700 Musick Road, St. Louis, MO 63123, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
- Headquarters, 1640 South Lindbergh, St. Louis, MO 63131, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
- Oak Bend Branch, 842 S. Holmes Ave, St. Louis, MO 63122, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
- Samuel C. Sachs Branch, 16400 Burkhardt Pl., Chesterfield, MO 63017, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
- Weber Road Branch, 4444 Weber Road, St. Louis, MO 63123, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Shaw Nature Reserve Eclipse Public Viewing
Visitors will receive a pair of solar viewing glasses, along with a safety guide and map of viewing areas (while supplies last). $5 admission (free for Missouri Botanical Garden members); $3 students/seniors; $20 parking per vehicle.
Jefferson Barracks Park See the Great American Solar Eclipse
Free and open to the public.
Chesterfield Amphitheater Solar Eclipse Viewing Party
Admission includes a guaranteed safe unobstructed viewing location, concert admission, solar eclipse glasses, a totality swag bag; and entrance to tailgate and experiential zone, food truck row, microbrew village, and vendor row. $20 to $25.
Four Seasons St. Louis Solar Eclipse Escape
The Four Seasons St. Louis Hotel is offering accommodations and gourmet picnic baskets to-go for guests to enjoy while viewing the eclipse.
Schlafly’s Eclipse Field Trip
from Schlafly Tap Room to Bloomsdale, MO and back
The local brewer will bring the party to the epicenter of the eclipse at the Dew Drop Inn in Bloomsdale, where attendees can also enjoy BBQ, beers, lawn games and live music. $45 for all-inclusive pass.
Urban Chestnut Solar Eclipse Viewing Party
Urban Chestnut Grove Brewery & Bierhall East Lawn
The viewing party will feature UCBC beer and grilled hotdogs and brats for purchase, as well as live music. A limited number of eclipse glasses will be available for free.
Webster University Eclipse Viewing Event
East Academic Building and the top floor of the Garden Avenue parking garage
This once-in-a-lifetime event will be hosted by the university’s Department of Biological Sciences as it transitions into the new state of the art Browning Hall, Interdisciplinary Science Building.
City of Ellisville Get Mooned in Bluebird Park
Bluebird Park, Ellisville
Free glasses, as well as music, t-shirts, food and more will be available.
Stone Hill Winery Total Solar Eclipse – Picnic on the Hill
Stone Hill Winery
Enjoy a picnic lunch on the hill, while having a front-row seat watching this rare solar eclipse take place.
Herculaneum Total Solar Eclipse Weekend
Herculaneum City Park
A two-day eclipse weekend festival will include a parade, car show, entertainment, food/concessions, vendor booths, children’s activities, adult activities, fireworks and more.
Washington, MO Celebrates the Total Solar Eclipse
Downtown Washington & Washington Fairgrounds
Saturday, August 19 – Monday, August 21, 2017
Enjoy three days of activities to celebrate the total solar eclipse from Saturday, Aug. 19 to Monday, Aug. 21.
A sampling of nearby communities and corresponding totality times:
For more information, including maps, events and duration times by city, and purchasing eclipse glasses, visit the St. Louis Eclipse Task Force website at stlouiseclipse2017.org.