From left, Senior Librarian Eva Jacobson, Los Alamos High School Teacher and Astronomy Club Sponsor Debbie Grothaus and retired astrophysicist and PEEC volunteer Galen Gisler model the solar glasses that will be distributed during the event to celebrate the annular eclipse 9 am. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Los Alamos High School’ s inner courtyard. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
Something unusual is going to occur Saturday in Los Alamos. The sky will feature a solar eclipse in the morning.
According to retired astrophysicist and Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) volunteer Galen Gisler, an annular eclipse only happens once every few centuries.
The fact that Los Alamos last spied an eclipse in 2012 is rare, he said. The next one is expected to occur in 2077.
So that the opportunity to see an eclipse now – “is pretty special,” Gisler said.
Furthermore, he said Los Alamos is right on the edge of the path of annularity, meaning its geographic location makes it a part of the select few—about 0.4 percent of the entire world population— that will be in the central path of the eclipse. The sun will appear as a perfect “ring of fire” when the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun, according to a Los Alamos County press release.
Spectators will be able to Baily’s Beads, Gisler added, or when sunlight passes through valleys on the moon.
To celebrate this significant occasion, Los Alamos County, along with other organizations including Bandelier National Monument, Manhattan Project National Historical Park, PEEC, Pajarito Astronomers, J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee, Girls Scouts, Los Alamos High School Astronomy Club, Los Alamos Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol, Eye Associates of New Mexico and others are hosting an event 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the inner courtyard at Los Alamos High School. Gisler noted that the best time to see the eclipse will be 10:36 a.m.
Telescopes will be set up to view the eclipse and thousands of solar glasses will be distributed. Mesa Public Library Senior Librarian Eva Jacobson said the solar eclipse also will be streamed on the County Recreation Division’s 23 by 13-foot, high resolution LED outdoor screen.
Los Alamos High School teacher and Astronomy Club Sponsor Debbie Grothaus added that members of the high school astronomy club will be volunteering at the event and selling swag.
“This is really intended to be educational and fun and safe for all ages,” Jacobson said.
“It’s exciting,” Grothaus added.
Work on this event started last winter when Grothaus and Gisler approached Jacobson about pursuing a grant to purchase the solar glasses. Other organizations joined in on organizing the event.
To learn more visit the Library’s event calendar, click Community Eclipse viewing event or call the Library at 505.662.8520.