Everything you need to know about today’s solar eclipse over Eagle County
August 21, 2017
The day has finally arrived. After weeks of increasing buzz and interest, the so-called Great American Eclipse races across the U.S. from northwest to southeast today. Eagle County isn't in the path of totality — meaning the moon will not completely eclipse the sun in our region — but we will experience approximately 91% totality. So, total solar eclipse for those folks hanging out in the 70-mile-wide path of totality today, partial solar eclipse for those outside the path. No complaining here.
Live NASA eclipse stream:
What's a Solar Eclipse, Anyway?
It's been 100 years since a total solar eclipse forged a path coast to coast across the continental U.S. In fact, today's eclipse — whether total or partial, depending on where you live — will be visible to everyone in North America. Pretty cool, huh?
We'll leave it to the experts at NASA to explain the ins and outs of eclipses. In a nutshell, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and therefore blocks some or all of the sun’s light. This page has tons of great info, and this video also provides a nice overview:
In Eagle County, the partial eclipse will begin at approximately 10:21 a.m. Maximum totality — again, the moon will cover about 91% of the sun for us — will occur at 11:44 a.m. The partial eclipse will end at 1:11 p.m. That means we have about 2 hours and 50 minutes of eclipse viewing.
What to Expect
The weather forecast Eagle County calls for mostly sunny skies Monday. That's good news, as we don't want any clouds to block our view of this rare celestial event.
There's been a lot of coverage of the potential danger of viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection. We recommend you heed those warnings. Hopefully you've had a chance to pick up a pair of approved eclipse glasses. If not, you still have a couple options, but don't wait until the last minute to prepare your homemade viewers.
Oh, sunglasses are not approved eclipse-viewing spectacles. Same goes for observing the eclipse through binoculars, telescopes and any other lens that doesn't have a proper solar filter attached. Better safe than sorry, folks.
Again, here's a cool video from NASA:
If you're a parent of an Eagle County Schools student, hopefully you've already filled out the parental permission form so your child can view the eclipse with his or her classmates with proper eyewear and supervision. If not, you better hurry up and get this completed form over to your school office this morning.
Local Viewing Events
Walking Mountains Science Center of Vail has partnered with the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon to host a free community eclipse viewing party from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Westin. All ages are welcome, and eclipse viewing glasses will be provided to the first 350 people on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. Participants will be asked to share their glasses during the eclipse to give everyone a chance to view it. Click here for more info on the event.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail also is hosting a free viewing event for the public. Bring your own glasses.
Local Viewing Events
We’ll be out shooting photos and video of today’s eclipse-related events in Eagle County, and we’d love to see your best work. Add #vaillive to your tweets and Instagram posts and we’ll share the best on our site and in print.