TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — Astronomy enthusiasts have a number of options in the region if they’re hoping to watch Saturday’s partial solar eclipse.
On Oct. 14, the annular solar eclipse will be visible to most of the United States. It’s a unique sight, and to see a total eclipse, you must perfectly align with its narrow path. People in the Tri-Cities will see a partial eclipse on Saturday, and although that won’t include what many call the “ring of fire”, it’ll still be a wondrous sight.
The partial eclipse will begin Saturday at 11:47 a.m. The eclipse will be at its maximum coverage point at 1:12 p.m. and will end at 2:41 p.m.
Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium is hosting special viewings in both downtown Kingsport and Johnson City. No viewings are taking place at Bays Mountain Park, but solar glasses can be purchased there for $2, officials said. The glasses are recommended to ensure eye safety when looking at the sun.
In downtown Kingsport, two solar telescopes will be set up in Glen Bruce Park from noon to 2 p.m., offering a magnified view of the sun.
Then in Johnson City, a viewing opportunity is planned in an ETSU student parking lot on West Walnut Street from 11:45 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. Some telescopes at this location will already have sun filters on them, removing the need for solar glasses.
“If you have never seen an eclipse before, even a partial one, it is an incredible experience,” said Dr. Gary Henson, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
In Carter County, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is hosting an event that begins at 11 a.m. Throughout the eclipse, the park’s interpretive staff will share facts about eclipses, such as the difference between a total and partial eclipse and the way the event was regarded by Native Americans. Solar glasses will be available at Sycamore Shoals, as well.
All events are free. Bays Mountain Park officials remind the community to never look directly into the sun without proper protection.