Published On: Fri, Aug 18th, 2017

Boca to Welcome Historic Eclipse with Local Viewings

By: Bryanna Basilio

Among the Solar Eclipse viewings occurring in Boca Raton, Saint Andrew’s students and families have been offered a special opportunity for viewing the eclipse of August 21.

Led by Saint Andrew’s School math teacher Jim Scheidegger, three telescopes on campus will be available for viewing the eclipse on the afternoon of Monday, August 21. Unlike viewing the eclipse with the naked eye, the telescopes at Saint Andrew’s will be outfitted with special solar filters allowing students and their families to safely view the eclipse. Onlookers may also take photos of the eclipse through the telescope their cellphones. Special solar eclipse glasses will also be available by request.

“I think the students will really benefit from the tools provided to them. It will enhance the experience” stated Mr. Scheidegger. “We could even inspire them to take up astronomy in the future. Inspiration happens at a young age. Former students of mine now even pursue astronomy as a career. Experiences like this may spark their interest in space.”

Scheidegger may be a math teacher but he shares a long fascination with Space. Since a young age, Scheidegger became interested in astronomy partly due to his father’s working with NASA on the Apollo Lunar Landing program. Aside from teaching math, he has a Bachelors in Astronomy from Amherst College and even raised funds at North Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, to build an observatory he designed himself. He also worked with the National Science Foundation to conduct research at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

“It benefits tremendously to have that love for astronomy. I can look at the sky any time and feel at home” said Scheidegger. “Im very excited for the eclipse and for the students to witness it.”

Due to the popularity of the historic event, many companies have been selling counterfeit glasses.

Scheidegger has recommended for those who will be viewing the eclipse to buy the correct eyewear, “be sure when buying eclipse glasses to look for the label which states it has met the requirement for ISO 12312-2.”

ISO 12312-2 is the international safety standard for filters for direct viewing of the Sun. Filters that are ISO 12312-2 compliant not only reduce visible sunlight to safe and comfortable levels but also block solar UV and IR radiation.

“Also do not wear a pair of eclipse glasses while using binoculars,” Scheidegger further advises. “If you wish to view the eclipse with binoculars or a telescope, there must a protective solar filter on these tools. Glasses should only be worn alone not while using viewing devices as it may cause damage to eyesight.”

Though Florida is not in the path of totality, we will still be able to experience the moon covering an impressive 80% of the sun’s disc. This will transform a sunny Florida afternoon into twilight darkness.  The timing for the event for Boca Raton is as follows:

1:23 P.M. The moon just begins to cover the face of the sun.

2:57 P.M. Maximum cover of 80% of the sun

4:20 P.M. The moon is totally out of the sun’s disc.

Listed below are other local solar eclipse events in Boca Raton:

FAU

Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science will host a free event to celebrate, discuss and observe the solar eclipse. The event will be on the lawns south and west of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science building (SE 43), 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. Visitor parking is available in Lot 5 with shuttle bus service to the event. The event will feature viewing glasses, educational displays, solar system games, activities, and telescopes. Eric Vandernoot, astronomy and physics lab coordinator at FAU, will also be available to any answer any questions about the historic event. Also, small groups of people will be able to observe the eclipse inside the FAU Astronomical Observatory using a hydrogen-alpha telescope. Space is limited.

WHEN:       Monday, August 21

                     1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Charles E. Schmidt College of Science building

                  (SE 43), 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

Spanish River Library

The Spanish River Library will also be holding a solar eclipse viewing party on the lakeside patio. Free solar eclipse glasses, cookies, and lemonade will be provided at the party (while supplies last).

WHEN: Monday, August 21

                1:00-4:00pm

WHERE: Spanish River Library,

                  1501 Spanish River Blvd, Boca Raton, FL 33431

Sugar Sand Park

In addition, Sugar Sand Park’s Science Explorium will be holding an eclipse extravaganza for children. The event will include viewing glasses, make and takes free demos, and more. The extravaganza provides activities to educate your children while still engaging the children.

WHEN: Monday, August 21

                2:00-4:30pm

WHERE: Sugar Sand Park’s Science Explorium

                  300 S Military Trail, Boca Raton, FL 33486

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