Apr 02, 2024

KWEC hosting Solar Eclipse Watch Party on April 8

Posted Apr 02, 2024 7:00 PM

Great Bend Post

Cue the Bonnie Tyler music. The solar eclipse that will soon pass over the United States is not really one of the heart, nor will it be a total eclipse. Still, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center is gearing up for a watch party with several activities from noon to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 8. Educator Mandy Kern said Kansans should have a pretty good view.

"We are not quite in the path of totality of the solar eclipse that will be going through the United States," she said. "The totality path is running from Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, up through Maine. What we'll see in our part of Kansas is about an 82.5 percent obstruction of the sun."

Because the event begins over the noon hour, Kern encouraged attendees to bring lawn chairs and a sack lunch if they prefer. KWEC staff will be joined by volunteers from Barton Community College's STEM Club and students from Golden Belt Home Educators. The eclipse provides a way to test out some new environmental sensors.

"One of the things they'll test is how the temperature will change during the eclipse, how the light intensity will change," Kern said. "We'll keep some data and keep track of that. We'll participate in a Citizen Science project called the Globe Observer, again collecting data to share with scientists around the world how our eclipse might look different than what it looks like in Texas and New York."

The Great Bend Noon Lions Club has donated 300 pairs of eclipse-viewing glasses to be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis. KWEC will also have a station to create pinhole devices to safely view the eclipse. Other activities include making Taylor Swift-style bracelets, learning about moon phases using Oreos, and turning color-changing UV beads into bookmarks.

The solar eclipse will begin around noon on April 8, reach its peak around 1:30 p.m, and full pass around 3 p.m. At over four hours in duration, the 2024 eclipse will be one of the longest in several decades.