Eclipse fever has gripped the Tri-Cities, and there’s nothing partial about it.
With forecasts predicting clear skies Monday, people are snatching what may be the last of the special eclipse viewing glasses to be found around town.
Kennewick’s Fred Meyer reported selling out Wednesday of the last of its 11,000 pairs shipped to the Kennewick and Richland stores.
Just because most of the sun is blocked by the moon during the eclipse, doesn’t make it any safer to stare into the sun. Only in a case of a full eclipse is enough light blocked to allow a person to look up without protection, say experts.
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But don’t worry, people can still glimpse the eclipse at a number of events throughout the Tri-Cities. Some include:
▪ People can snag one of 800 pairs of solar viewing glasses, use a solar telescope or look at the eclipse using a pinhole projector at Columbia Basin College’s viewing event in Pasco. The Bechtel National Planetarium and Moore Observatory are opening at 9 a.m. when the moon will start to slip in front of the sun.
By 10:23 a.m., the moon will cover 96 percent of the sun — the maximum for the Tri-Cities. The moon then slowly will recede until 11:44 a.m.
Kristy Henscheid, the planetarium’s director, is excited to see the eclipse return to the region. The last time she had a chance to see an eclipse, in 2012, the sky was cloudy.
Along with the telescopes and glasses, the planetarium is showing a program about eclipses every half hour.
“It’s all about eclipses, and their history ... and how they work,” she said. “How often they happen and why this one is special.”
The free event is open to all ages.
▪ The Port of Pasco is offering 1,000 pairs of glasses at its event. The Total Eclipse of the Port starts at 9 a.m., and people can enjoy children’s activities, music and other entertainment.
Visitors are invited to the port’s offices at 1110 Osprey Pointe Blvd., near the intersection of Ainsworth Street and Oregon Avenue.
▪ The city of Pasco is offering a chance to stay inside and safely watch the eclipse. The city’s recreation department is arranging for the solar event to be projected onto two large screens.
Entertainment, refreshments and activities start at 9:30 a.m. at the police and community services building at 213 W. Sylvester Street.
▪ In a less formal gathering, the Washington State University’s student government is handing out eclipse viewing glasses in the Elson S. Floyd Building atrium Monday morning.
▪ Badger Mountain Vineyard invited The Gourmet Grub Bus food truck to sell pancakes, waffles and other breakfast menu items to enjoy with its wine during the eclipse.
The winery, at 1106 North Jurupa Street in Kennewick, will sell viewing glasses at the tasting room. People are asked to call the vineyard at 509-927-4986 for more information.
▪ If you want to watch the eclipse from the water, Northwest Paddleboarding is holding a community paddle event starting at the Charbboneau Park marina at 9 a.m.
The event is free if you come with your own equipment, or you can rent a board for $20. Reservations for paddleboards can be made at bit.ly/NWpaddleboard.
If you can’t get to any of these events, people don’t need to miss out on a chance to see the eclipse, Henschied said people can make their own pinhole projector using an index card by punching a small hole in it.
Then the person can stand with their back to the sun, and hold the card in the light. An image of the sun will be projected in front of them onto a second piece of paper.