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The community is invited to safely experience the awe-inspiring 2017 Solar Eclipse with Evanston Public Library this summer.  Five different programs are planned, culminating on Eclipse Day, Aug. 21, with a viewing party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Main Library. There will be several viewing stations for exploring the sun, the moon and the eclipse itself. The first 120 visitors to the viewing party will receive free eclipse viewing glasses as part of a grant from the Space Science Institute, received from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Prior to the viewing party on Aug. 21, there will be four different programs in July and August that will provide opportunities for people of all ages to make eclipse viewers and learn more about this exciting event: an eclipse that will cross the nation.  Experts from the Chicago Astronomer and Northwestern University’s Physics and Astronomy departments will be at the Library to inform and educate  These programs will be held at the Main Library on July 25, 10 to 11 a.m.; July 31, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.; August 12, 10 to 11 a.m.; and Aug. 16 from 7 to 8 p.m. The last year that a total eclipse was visible in the U.S. from coast to coast was 1918. The next time a solar eclipse will be seen in Evanston is 2024.

“Here in Evanston we will reach 89% totality. While the sky will be dark, it is never safe to stare at the sun, even during an eclipse of this magnitude. The eyes have no pain receptors so it’s entirely possible to damage the eyes without realizing it. We invite everyone to learn more about the eclipse, have fun preparing for it, and enjoy it safely,” said Kim Kaufmann, the Children’s Librarian planning the eclipse programs.

EPL is one of just 75 libraries in the nation to receive a grant to be part of NASA @ My Library, an initiative to engage public audiences nationwide in informal and lifelong learning through the excitement of NASA exploration and discovery. The initiative is led by the National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute (SSI) in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, the Pacific Science Center, Cornerstones of Science and the Education Development Center. This program is made possible through the support of the NASA Science Mission Directorate as part of its STEM Activation program.