With a partial solar eclipse visible in Northwest Arkansas on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 23, Northwest Arkansas Community College and Sugar Creek Astronomical Society will host a watch party. This event happens very rarely (the last one in our area was May 1994). An even rarer, total eclipse, will occur on Aug. 21, 2017, with the best viewing from Joplin, MO. We won’t see another event like these two for many decades.
The public viewing starts at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 23 near the north parking lot of the Center for Health Professions in Bentonville. The Center for Health Professions building is located on the north side of the campus, north of the railroad tracks.
A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun. The moon will begin blocking the sun, from the viewing site on the campus, at 4:42 p.m.., with maximum eclipse at 5:48 p.m. The viewing will end when the sun slips below the horizon at 6:33 p.m.
Viewers in Northwest Arkansas will see 40 percent of the sun eclipsed, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. A world of caution! Looking directly at a solar eclipse can permanent, irreversible eye damage!
Members of Sugar Creek Astronomical Society will be on hand with telescopes equipped with filters that make viewing the event safe.
“Our amateur astronomy club is built on public outreach,” said Jack McDaniel, club president. “We want anyone with an interest in astronomy to come out and enjoy the beautiful and amazing sight of an eclipse.”