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Another View: Lehigh Valley, are you ready for the solar eclipse April 8?

Those in North and Central America are anxiously awaiting the exciting moment of experiencing a solar eclipse April 8. For those in the path of totality in Mexico, the United States and Canada, they will be able to see a total solar eclipse, meaning the moon will completely cover the sun’s disk.

In Pennsylvania, residents in Crawford and Erie counties and portions of Mercer and Warren counties will view totality. For us in the Lehigh Valley, we will have a partial solar eclipse. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a cool sight. The eclipse is expected to start 2:08 p.m. and end 4:35 p.m., with the best time to see 91.6% of the sun covered 3:24 p.m.

Rochester, N.Y., is one of the cities in the U.S. that will have totality. My aunt is a librarian at State Road Elementary School, located close to Rochester, and she has been looking forward to this day for a while.

“I’m excited about the eclipse because it combines the opportunity to learn about science, nonfiction books, the world and nature,” my aunt, Andrea Koch, said. “It’s something I am passionate about, and then I can share that passion with my students, so we’ve been doing research. We’ve been learning about the many folk tales that are thousands of years old that people all over the world have read. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to share this experience with my students.”

Koch said she is also having students, through art, predict what the atmosphere of the sun’s corona will look like.

For kindergartners and first-graders, she is having them use flashlights to make shadows like the moon on eclipse day.

“We’ve also been learning about the importance of safety and using our solar eclipse glasses at all times, except when you are in the band of totality. During this time you may take your glasses off for that approximately three-and-a-half minutes when the moon completely covers the sun and you are safe,” Koch said.

Remember, the Lehigh Valley will not experience this, so keep those glasses on!

“The people of Rochester have been preparing for years for this really rare and special event, and things are really ramping up. There are many different events in Rochester,” Koch said.

Some of the events Koch mentioned include the local museum and science center and public libraries holding science presentations, Native American storytelling, arts and crafts and talks on viewing the eclipse safely. Koch said there is even a special eclipse-themed beer and wine!

“Our Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is preparing a huge special event the night before,” Koch added.

“We’re lucky - just by chance that on earth we are able to experience this total solar eclipse. It is just by chance that the sun and the moon are the exact same size in the sky. It’s very rare to have the opportunity to be able to see this and be at the right place at the right time,” Koch conveyed.

“Many people who see it fail to find the perfect words to describe the beauty and the specialness of this event, but many people when they see it once, they want to see it again. I’ve seen it once before in 2017, and I’m very excited to have that opportunity to see it again. This time it’s coming right to me,” Koch said.

Our local libraries are also getting prepared for this special occasion. Below are a few events Lehigh Valley libraries are hosting.

Easton Area Public Library will be holding a program titled Astronomy 101: What is an Eclipse 4:30-5:30 p.m. April 4. This event is geared toward ages 7-12, with a parent or guardian to assist. Participants will make pinhole projectors to safely view the eclipse.

Lower Macungie Library will have an eclipse party outside for all ages 1:45-4:30 p.m. April 8. If you are not able to make this event, the library also has eclipse glasses for its current patrons and can be picked up starting April 4 on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a limit of two pairs per household.

Parkland Community Library will welcome teens to make recipes in handcrafted solar ovens 4:30-5:30 p.m. April 8.

Emmaus Public Library is holding a program called Great American Solar Eclipse for all ages 1:15-3:45 p.m. April 8. At this event, you can watch the eclipse in person or on a screen. There will also be science crafts.

Keep in mind, registration may be required for these events. If slots are filled, some libraries have wait lists you can join. Also, remember to never look directly at an eclipse. It is dangerous to the health of your eyes if you do.

Special thanks to my aunt for informing us of the fun events happening in Rochester.

If you are planning on seeing the eclipse, enjoy the moment, which we won’t be able to experience again until 2044. And if you’re in Rochester, say hi to my aunt!

Stacey Koch

editorial assistant

Whitehall-Coplay Press

Northampton Press

Catasauqua Press