A total solar eclipse can be viewed in the United States at the end of August, for the first time in nearly 40 years. Experts say it’s a can’t-miss event.
Indiana isn’t in the path of totality, but southern parts of the state will have near-totality: 99 percent in Evansville, 96 percent in Jeffersonville, 95 percent in Bloomington and about 90 percent in Indianapolis.
Here’s what you need to know to enjoy the eclipse!
Day: Monday, Aug. 21
Time: Depending on where you watch, about 12 p.m. until about 3 p.m. EDT. Get the exact time and totality for your area here.
Best Place To Watch?
The path of totality covers 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina. The closest place to view the totality for most Hoosiers is near Hopkinsville, Kentucky. You can find out how much of the sun will be covered and at what time on this interactive map.
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Photo: Michael Zeiler / GreatAmericanEclipse.com
Safety First: Get The Right Eyewear
Looking at the sun during an eclipse is still damaging to our eyes, and you’ll need more than a pair of sunglasses to view the eclipse safely.
The only safe way to directly view an eclipse is with eclipse glasses, and professor of vision science at the IU School of Optometry Dr. Arthur Bradley says they have to be certified.
Certified glasses have a special film called Mylar, which he says only allows 1-millionth of sunlight to reach your eyes.
You can find safe ways to view the eclipse on NASA’s website.
Join A Local Watch Party
Don’t have the time to drive several hours south? Not to worry! Local watch parties are planned for all over Indiana:
Bloomington (95 percent totality):
- Monroe Lake is hosting a free watch party at Paynetown State Recreation Area (swimming beach). The “countdown” is from 12 to 1 p.m. From 12:57 until 2:30, guests can view the progress of the eclipse. Supplies to make a pinhole projector, UV-bead bracelet and an art project will be available.
- Indiana University Bloomington is hosting a free party at the Conrad Prebys Amphitheater from 1 to 4 p.m. Activities include live music, food, crafts and other activities.
Indianapolis (90 percent totality):
- Indianapolis Parks and Recreation is hosting a viewing event at Earth Discovery Center from 1 to 3 p.m. Event is free with admission to Eagle Creek Park.
Patoka Lake (98 percent totality):
- Patoka Lake is hosting a ‘Kayak the Eclipse’ event from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Participants will need to provide their own equipment for the event. A launch permit is required and will be sold at the ramp for $5.
Twelve Indiana state parks are hosting watch parties for the eclipse.
Ginger Murphy, deputy director of the DNR Division of State Parks, says even though the eclipse is not in totality in the state, it is still worth watching.
“As the moon crosses between the earth and the sun, you can really experience a little of the depth of space and feel what a small part of the universe we are,” Murphy says in a press release. “It is also fascinating to listen as bird and insect songs slow or stop as they perceive the changes in light levels.”
Here are the state parks hosting viewing parties (times are local):
• Charlestown, 12:30 to 4 p.m.
• Clifty Falls, 2 to 3 p.m.
• Falls of the Ohio, noon to 4 p.m.
• Harmonie, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT (all others are EDT)
• Monroe Lake, noon to 2:30 p.m.
• Patoka Lake, 12:30 to 3 p.m.
• Pokagon, 1 to 4 p.m.
• Potato Creek, 1 to 4 p.m.
• Prophetstown, 12:30 to 3 p.m.
• Shakamak, noon to 3:30 p.m.
• Spring Mill, 1-3 p.m.
• Whitewater Memorial, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Driving South? Plan Ahead
The Indiana Department of Transportation says about 200 million people live within a day’s drive of the total eclipse path, and as people drive south to get to the totality zone, Indiana’s roadways will get congested.
INDOT reports increased traffic is expected on I-69, U.S. 41, U.S. 231 and Interstate 65 throughout the day.
“After the event, transportation planners anticipate a ‘mass exodus’ from total eclipse regions,” INDOT says in a statement. “Expect heavier than normal northbound traffic on these routes.”
INDOT is urging people to prepare early and follow safety precautions:
- Make plans for overnight accommodations early; overnight camping is prohibited at rest areas.
- Officials say it is unsafe to wear eclipse glasses while driving.
- Do not stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder.
- Turn on your vehicle’s headlights during the eclipse event.
This post has been updated.