Here comes the sun … and there it goes. For the first time in almost 40 years, L.A. families catch a glimpse of a solar eclipse from the comfort of their own backyards or other spots around town. From 9:05–11:43 a.m. Aug. 21, the moon will travel directly in front of the sun, covering more than half of the solar surface for viewers in the L.A. area. The L.A. County Library and the National Parks Service will host family-friendly events to promote fun and safe viewing. If you’re looking for some shade in the middle of a sunny day, these are the places to be!
To get you ready county libraries have scheduled activities in the days leading up to the eclipse. The Iacoboni Library offers for-kids astronomy programs every Monday, and other libraries offer hands-on lessons for children and families – from lessons on the science of eclipses to making your own pinhole viewer to stargazing starter guides. Kids visiting the Malibu Library Aug. 10 will even get the chance to pass around a real meteorite!
Once you learn about the eclipse, you’ll be ready to see it in action. The Claremont, Iacoboni, City Terrace, Diamond Bar, Hacienda Heights, Montbello, Norwalk, San Gabriel and Temple City libraries will host eclipse-viewing events beginning at 10 a.m. Libraries will pass out free pairs of safe-viewing glasses while supplies last, and some locations will even provide free drinks and snacks. Click here for details on viewings and lead-up events.
The National Parks Service will host eclipse-viewing events in downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Families can bring blankets to see the eclipse at the L.A. State Historic Park downtown. Go directly to the park or, if you’re feeling like some exercise, meet park rangers at the new Gateway at 8:30 a.m. for a hike to the Nature Center in El Pueblo.
King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas and Rancho Sierra Vista in Thousand Oaks will host fun educational programs about the eclipse starting at 9:30 a.m., just in time for the eclipse viewing at 10:20 a.m. At Rancho Sierra Vista, park rangers will also tell Native American sky stories and help kids build construction-paper models of the eclipse. Click here for more information and other events.
Unless eclipse-viewer making is part of a viewing event you are attending, you will need to provide your own viewing glasses. Do not skip this important step, and make note of these safety tips to protect everyone’s eyesight:
- Use the right equipment! Standard sunglasses will not protect your eyes from the sun.
- If you purchase viewing glasses, buy them from Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics or Thousand Oaks Optical — the only companies that meet safety standards.
- Do not use eclipse-viewing glasses that are more than three years old, or those with lenses that are damaged in any way.
- Do not look through a camera, telescope or binoculars at the eclipse, even through your eclipse glasses. It will damage the glasses and injure your eyes.