DEL NORTE— A major astronomical event is on the horizon and Mike Hurst, president of Del Norte Bank, is ready to invite the public down to enjoy an afternoon watching the eclipse from the courtyard behind the bank on Aug. 21. Hurst and his wife were sitting in their backyard one day a few weeks ago and thought it would be nice to offer a location and the proper viewing tools to the public who might not get a chance to see the eclipse while it passes briefly over the Colorado skies. “I really have to give credit to my wife for coming up with the idea,” said Hurst with a smile.
Hurst then took it upon himself to contact NASA and purchase 100 glasses to which he distributed between the two branches in both Creede and Del Norte. “I figure people can come and see the eclipse and then pass the glasses onto someone else,” stated Hurst. The event is a perfect way to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity as well as bring members of the community together for the event. Hurst said that both locations will be serving light refreshments and have people on hand to help with the viewing procedures.
Though Colorado will only see a portion of the eclipse, the event is still one many residents and guests are looking forward to in the area. The sun will be partially eclipsed between about 11:40 a.m. MST and noon. The event has been titled the Great American Solar Eclipse due to the fact that it is the first eclipse that will be only visible in the United States since 1776, when the last total eclipse occurred of this nature.
According to an associated press release, here are some things to remember when viewing the eclipse, “The only moment it’s safe to look at the eclipse is during the two to three minutes when the sun is completely behind the moon. Before and after that — during the partial eclipse — special eclipse glasses, or welder’s goggles, must be worn. That’s because the sun’s surface is so bright that if you stare at any portion of it, no matter how small, it produces enough light to permanently damage your retina. Our eyes never evolved to look at the sun without suffering severe damage. Regular sunglasses are also not safe to use.”
“A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. The moon appears to completely cover the disk of the sun. By blocking the sun’s light, the moon casts a shadow that turns day into an eerie twilight here on Earth. Eclipses occur because of the special coincidence of the moon and the sun being the same size to our eyes. The sun is 400 times wider than the moon, but it is also 400 times farther away, so they appear to be the same size in the sky.”
Other things to keep in mind: it is unsafe to view the eclipse while driving. Officials are reminding travelers to pull over to the side of the road, out of the way of other traffic if they are going to be viewing the eclipse. Cell phones can be used to take pictures of the event, but the resolution will yield poor results.
Be safe and enjoy this special event in the best way possible.