HENDERSON, Ky. -- Henderson Community College will host a solar eclipse lecture and viewing event in and outside the Preston Fine Arts Center on eclipse day, Monday, Aug. 21.
Scott Taylor, an associate professor of mathematics at HCC, will present the lecture and guide the viewing in the parking lot.
"We should still have over a 99 percent coverage. Actually 99.577 percent, and that's not bad," he said.
Henderson will be along the edge and will see a significant, though not a technically total, eclipse.
Taylor said that in Henderson it will be likethe middle of the night with a full moon.
The HCC event will begin with a lecture by Taylor at 10:30 a.m., and then visitors will have an opportunity to view the eclipse from the parking lot with a Meade Lx-90 Cassegrain reflector that will include a solar filter, allowing observers to view the sun safely.
The presentation, appropriate for all ages and any knowledge level, will focus on different types of eclipses, the sun, the moon, and their relationship with Earth.
Those in attendance will receive a pair of solar eclipse glasses for the viewing (while supplies last). Maximum coverage for Henderson will be at 12:24 PM.
Taylor stressed the importance of using a telescope filter or special glasses to view the eclipse.
Even with 0.423 percent sunlight showing "you still don't want to look at the sun, that can damage your eyes. You are looking at a nuclear reaction ... that's the sun. You don't want to do that," he said.
He recommends purchasing glasses with a quantified level of protection from the sun.
The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.
According to a release from the state of Kentucky, "State and local agencies are preparing for a massive influx of visitors during a total solar eclipse that will sweep across the region on the afternoon of Aug. 21. While the celestial event will include 14 states across the nation’s midsection, ground zero for the eclipse runs from near Carbondale, Ill., to Hopkinsville.
"The total eclipse is truly a once-in-a- lifetime event. According to NASA, any given point on the planet will only experience a total solar eclipse about once every 375 years. Ten western Kentucky counties are bracing for an influx of anywhere from 100,000 visitors up to a half-million or more starting about three days before the eclipse. Another 11 counties are preparing for a mass of traffic as visitors travel to and from the total eclipse zone."