Eastern Iowa guide to the total solar eclipse
Peak time in Cedar Rapids area is 1:12 p.m. Monday
Monday is the day.
For the first time since 1979, a total solar eclipse will make its way across the continental United States.
The buildup to the event has been immense with reports of hotels and campgrounds in the path of totality selling out rooms and spaces months ago as folks from around the country made plans to travel for a chance to see the eclipse.
But even outside the path of totality, today’s solar eclipse will darken most parts of the United States at least to some degree.
To help get you ready, here is a guide for Eastern Iowans to help you prepare for what’s to come.
Also, we'd like you to share your eclipse experiences with us. If you have photos or video of the eclipse, or just want to tell us about your eclipse viewing event, please post them to your favorite social media channel using the hashtag #eclipseiowa
Q: What is a solar eclipse?
A: When the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to three hours from beginning to end.
Q: When and where does this eclipse start and end?
A: A shadow will begin around 11:05 a.m. Central Time Monday in Lincoln City, Ore. Totality begins there at 12:16 p.m. The eclipse ends at 1:48 p.m. Central Time in Charleston, S.C.
Q: How long will the total eclipse last?
A: About 2 minutes 43 seconds
Q: Where is the path of totality?
A: The path covers 11 major cities in 12 states — Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Q: I live in Eastern Iowa. When is my best chance to view the eclipse?
A: In the Cedar Rapids area, the eclipse begins at 11:45 a.m. Central Time Monday. It peaks at 1:12 p.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m.
Q: How much of the sun will be obscured for folks in Eastern Iowa?
A: About 92 percent.
Q: Are there any viewing events in the area?
A: Yes. There are many taking place Monday, including:
l University of Iowa — 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pentacrest, 1 N. Clinton St., and Sciences Library courtyard, 120 Iowa Ave., both in Iowa City. Faculty, staff and student experts will answer questions. Each viewing station will be equipped with telescopes and solar glasses.
l Cedar Rapids Public Library — 12:30 to 2 p.m. at downtown library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, and Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd. SW. Solar glasses will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. and short presentations will start at 2 p.m. At the Downtown location, a telescope will be available.
l Marion Public Library — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1095 Sixth Ave. Solar glasses will be available. Experts will give short presentations about the eclipse.
l Iowa City Public Library — 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at 123 S. Linn St. Attendees will meet in Meeting Room A, then head outside to view the eclipse. Solar glasses will be available.
l New Pioneer Food Co-Op — Noon to 2 p.m. at 3338 Center Point Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids, and 22 S. Van Buren St., Iowa City. Local psychics will offer readings. Make pinhole eclipse viewers.
l Palisades-Dows Observatory — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1365 Ivanhoe Rd., Mount Vernon. Several telescopes will be available, some for viewing the eclipse and others for looking at planets like Jupiter and Venus. Members of Cedar Amateur Astronomers Inc. will be present.
l Cedar Rapids Kernels Game — 12:05 p.m. at 950 Rockford Rd. SW. Solar glasses will be available. Members of Cedar Amateur Astronomers Inc. will be at the game, and a livestream of the eclipse from a telescope will be displayed on the field’s screen.
Q: Is it safe to look at the eclipse?
A: No. In fact, doctors say looking at the eclipse for 15 seconds without eye protection can cause irreversible damage to your eyes. One doctor at the University of Iowa said even with powerful solar glasses, he doesn’t recommend looking at the eclipse for more than 10 seconds. Many in the medical profession advise not looking at all under any circumstance.
Q: Is there anything else I should look for during the eclipse?
A: Yes. Experts say to look down at the shadows on the ground, which will take on a crescent shape due to the partial eclipse in Eastern Iowa.
Q: What is Monday’s weather forecast for Eastern Iowa?
A: Mother Nature may ruin her own party. The National Weather Service is forecasting thunderstorms Monday, although it predicts the largest threat for severe weather is late afternoon through midnight.
Q: How can I learn more about the eclipse?