VANCOUVER — For the first time since 1979, Northwest skies will darken during mid-morning for what some are calling the National Eclipse, which will occur on Mon., Aug. 21.
Monday’s much anticipated solar eclipse will be the first eclipse to traverse the United States from coast to coast in almost a century, according to the website nationaleclipse.com. The event has been christened the National Eclipse, because it will be the first total eclipse that exclusively travels across the United States since before the nation’s 1776 founding.
The solar eclipse will occur when the moon passes between the earth and sun, blocking out sunlight and darkening the day. Most parts of the country will not witness a full blocking of the sun, with the approximately 70-mile wide path of totality will trace a path from Oregon to South Carolina.
However, Clark County residents will still be able to view a 98 to 99 percent eclipse of the sun.
The eclipse will begin at 9:06 a.m., achieve its maximum point at 10:19 a.m., and end at 11:38 a.m. During this time, the American Astronomical Society warns viewers that even though the sun will be obscured by the moon, it is still unsafe to directly view the eclipse.
Viewers should wear protective eclipse glasses to avoid damage to eyes. These must be marked with an ISO 12312-2 approval of compliance with international safety standards for solar lenses.
According to NASA, some eclipse glasses in circulation are counterfeit and do not meet the approved standards, even if they are so marked. The American Astronomical Society has released a list of approved vendors and glasses brands at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.
With the path of totality passing directly through Oregon, and a massive influx of visitors from outside the region expected, officials are bracing for massive amounts of congestion on roadways. Washington State Department of Transportation officials expect the main north-south thoroughfares such as interstates 5 and 205 to be especially congested not only on the day of the eclipse, but in the several days before and after the event as tourists enter and leave Oregon.
WSDOT officials also have given several guidelines for travel during the eclipse. Drivers should not pull off to the roadside to view the eclipse, as this could create more traffic congestion and potentially block emergency vehicles. Travelers also should plan ahead and be prepared for a stay of several days, in the case of a vehicle breakdown or blockage of roadways.
For Clark County residents who want to view the eclipse without traveling to Oregon, various local organizations are hosting eclipse viewing parties. A list of some of those events is below.
More information about the solar eclipse can be found online at http://nationaleclipse.com/. Guidelines from WSDOT about travel and what to expect during the eclipse are available at https://wsdotblog.blogspot.com/2017/08/i-will-survive-great-american-solar.html.
Clark County solar eclipse events and locations:
- Camas Public Library Solar Eclipse Party: The Camas Public Library and City of Camas Parks & Recreation will host both an outdoor viewing party and a live stream of the eclipse indoors at the Camas Public Library at 625 NE 4th Avenue, Camas, WA. The viewing party begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m. Attendees will receive a free pair of eclipse glasses on a first come, first served basis. Food will be available from Hello Waffle Cart, 9 Bar Espresso and The Hungrys Bakery. 4th Avenue and Franklin Street will be blocked for the event.
- Fort Vancouver National Historic Site: The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site launches a week of end of summer tours that begin with a community viewing party of the solar eclipse. The viewing begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 12 p.m. Attendees can check in in front of the Grant House, located at 1101 Officers Row, Vancouver, WA. The community event is free to all, and those wanting to attend can RSVP at the Fort Vancouver National Trust website at http://fortvan.org/walk-talk-a-week-of-tours.html.
- Hoffman Plaza at Horseshoe Lake: Woodland Community Library will host an eclipse viewing party at Hoffman Plaza at Horseshoe Lake, 510 Goerig Street, Woodland, WA, from 9–11 a.m. Eclipse glasses will be provided while available. The event is free and open to the public.
- La Center Community Building: La Center Community Library will host a viewing party at the La Center Community Building, 1000 E 4th Street, La Center, WA, from 9:30–10:30 a.m. Eclipse glasses are available for the first 150 attendees. The event is free and open to the public.
- Mill Creek Pub Eclipse Patio Party: Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground will host a patio viewing party for the eclipse from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The outdoor patio will be arranged to facilitate viewing the eclipse, and the first 50 guests will receive free eclipse glasses courtesy of Richardson Eye of Battle Ground. Special eclipse themed food and drinks will be available, and attendees can win door prizes and buy commemorative t-shirts. Mill Creek Pub will donate part of the proceeds from the event to the Rocksolid Community Teen Center.
- Ridgefield Methodist Church: The Ridgefield Community Library will host an eclipse viewing event at the Ridgefield Methodist Church, 1410 Hillhurst Road, Ridgefield, WA, beginning at 8:45 a.m. 32 pairs of eclipse glasses are on hand as well as cameras with solar filters. The event is free and open to the public.
- Vancouver Community Library: The Vancouver Community Library will host solar activities and a live streaming of the eclipse from NASA from 9–11 a.m. at 901 C Street, Vancouver, WA. The event is free and open to the public.
- Washington State University Vancouver: WSU Vancouver’s Student Activities Board will host an eclipse viewing party at WSU Vancouver, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue, Vancouver, WA, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Coffee, music and moon pies will be provided. The event is open to students and the community, however community members are discouraged from parking at WSU Vancouver, as parking is available only to those with passes. Those without parking passes are encouraged to park in adjacent neighborhoods and walk to the Quad.