The day has arrived.
The United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918.
Kansas is well-situated: more than 90 percent of the sun will be blocked in most parts of the state early Monday afternoon. And far northeastern Kansas is lucky to be in the path of a total solar eclipse.
Except we may have patchy clouds in Wichita during the eclipse, and parts of Kansas in the path of the total eclipse may experience rain showers.
We may get lucky and see something special — or not.
“It’s really exciting to have something like this so close,” said Lake Afton Public Observatory Director Harold Henderson.
Here’s a rundown of things to know about the eclipse:
What is an eclipse? A solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit blocks light from the sun for locations on Earth.
What will I see in Wichita? You’ll see a partial eclipse, where the sun is partly obscured by the moon. The moon will start to block the sun around 11:36 a.m. in Wichita. About 93 percent of the sun will be obscured in Wichita at the eclipse’s peak shortly after 1 p.m. The eclipse will end at about 2:32 p.m.
How can I see it in Wichita? Protective glasses will help you see safely see the eclipse. It helps to test them out before the partial eclipse.
Why do I need glasses? Looking directly at the sun during the eclipse, or any time for that matter, can cause permanent damage to your eyes.
What if I can’t find glasses? Glasses were hard to come by in the days leading up to Aug. 21. But there are other ways to see the eclipse. You can use a pinhole viewer, a shoe or cereal box viewer or a colander to see the eclipse. You can also see the eclipse by looking at the light that shines through trees on the ground.
What about pets? They’ll be fine. Animals have basic reflexes that make them never look directly at the sun. So Monday won’t be too different for them.
So how’s the weather looking? The forecast calls for patchy, dense clouds during the height of the solar eclipse giving us a chance — but not great chance — of viewing the moon’s dance with the sun.
Where can I see it? You can see the eclipse anywhere outside. But if you want to see it in a group, here are some viewing events in Wichita:
Exploration Place eclipse party, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 300 N. McLean Blvd. Free. Solar telescopes set up on the lawn. Special glasses provided to the first 500 guests. Hands-on activities. Lunch will be available for purchase from food trucks. 316-660-0620, www.exploration.org.
Great Plains Nature Center “Lunch with Luna,” 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 6232 E. 29th Street North. If you take a cereal box, the staff will help you create a safe eclipse viewer. Take a picnic lunch. Kona Ice will sell snow cones. Crafts and games.
Solar eclipse watch parties, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m at Citizens Bank of Kansas locations. Free eclipse glasses while supplies last.
Solar eclipse watch party, noon to 2 p.m., Omni Business Center, 111 S. Whittier. Free. Big Chill Ice Cream food truck will serve dessert. The first 50 attendees will receive free solar eclipse viewing glasses. Take lawn chairs. 316-689-4252
Solar eclipse watch party, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Robert Shryock Park, 2829 Ohio Street, Augusta. Free to attend, free glasses while supplies last, food available for purchase from vendors. www.augustapubliclibrary.com
Solar eclipse watch party, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., KAKE-TV studios, 1500 N. West Street. Music, food trucks, STEM activities, balloon animals and face paint for sale. Those attending are encouraged to bring their own solar viewing glasses. Attendees may park in the Dillon’s lot at 13th and West. More information is available at www.kake.com/eclipse.
NASA live stream of the eclipse, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Wichita State University Ablah Library foyer. The library will give eclipse viewing glasses to the first 100 people in attendance. Anyone who can’t attend can still tune into the NASA broadcast online at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-live-stream.
Eclipse watch party, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., near the WSU College of Education building. There will be ice cream, live music, prizes and a duck race in the fountain. Solar viewing glasses will be provided to the first 250 people to show up.
Do I need to wear glasses the whole time? You should wear your glasses if you crane your head upward to look at the eclipse. You can take them off when you look down or are inside. You shouldn’t wear them while driving. You can also take them off during totality.
What’s totality? Totality is when the sun is completely covered by the moon to a fixed point on Earth. Totality for this eclipse can last from a few seconds to about three minutes, depending on where you are on Earth. The path of totality, where ground observers will see a total solar eclipse, will begin in Oregon, cross the country diagonally toward South Carolina and then pass into the Atlantic Ocean.
What do I need if I go there? Henderson said you should prepare for traveling to totality like any other long outdoor event. Bring sunscreen, water, snacks and a hat. If you’re looking at the eclipse, pull over to do so.