August 21st will showcase the first total solar eclipse in the United States in almost four decades. It will be the first total solar eclipse that can be seen on both coasts since 1918. Ron Burgundy might say “It’s kind of a big deal.” A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. The moon casts a shadow on earth obscuring the sun.
Unfortunately the state of Maine will not fall in the path of totality, or umbra this time around. For that, you’ll have to take a long drive.
Maine will however be treated to a partial solar eclipse. That means the sun will only partially be obstructed by the moon as seen here in Maine. Depending on where you are, the state can expect between 44% and 58% coverage. The action will get going around 1PM on August 21st and extend through about 4PM. Best viewing will be around 2:45 PM (weather permitting).
It is worth mentioning the state of Maine will experience a total solar eclipse on April 8th 2024. Mark your calendars! Lets hope we don’t have any rain (or snow) that day.
As you might imagine, it’s not recommended to look directly at the sun during the eclipse, or any time for that matter. There are some visual aids and viewing methods you might find useful.
1. Eclipse Glasses: This is the preferred easiest method of viewing the eclipse. The Portland Public Library is passing out free glasses for folks interested. More information here.
4. Head in Cardboard Box Method
5. Telescope projection method
From Sky and Telescope
To aim the instrument safely, look at its shadow on a white card as you swing the tube around. (Don’t use your finderscope — make sure it’s capped at the front end or removed completely.) When the scope’s shadow nears its minimum size, a brilliant beam of sunlight will burst out of the eyepiece and fall onto the card. Turn the focus knob and experiment with the card’s distance behind the eyepiece until the Sun’s disk is sharp and as big as you want. Look for sunspots!
We’re less than two weeks out, and hoping for great weather for viewing the eclipse. You can get updated weather forecasts on our website at wgme.com. Also, check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for forecasts leading up to the event, and also photos of the eclipse. As always, I’d love to see your photos as well. Happy viewing.