Arkansas residents view the first solar eclipse in 38 years on Monday, Aug. 21, and events are scheduled locally and throughout the state.
According to NASA.gov, the solar eclipse will be visible in this area from about 11:43 a.m. to 2:41 p.m., with peak totality occurring at about 1:13 p.m.
Viewers in this area will experience an 85-91 percent partial eclipse, according to NASA.gov. Viewers in Van Buren will see an 88 percent partial eclipse.
Van Buren Public Library will have a free viewing party the day of the eclipse from noon to 2 p.m. and “eclipse training” on Aug. 17 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Those taking part in the watch party on the library lawn will receive solar viewing glasses and refreshments. Viewers must bring their own bring a lawn chair or blanket, and library personnel also suggest bringing sun protection.
If the weather does not allow outdoor viewing, a live-feed of the eclipse and hands-on activities will take place in the library’s meeting room.
To get ready for the solar eclipse, viewers can take part in free “eclipse training” provided by the library. Those who participate will learn about the science behind the eclipse, see demonstrations of safe viewing methods, make a pinhole viewer and receive free viewing glasses.
Watch parties also are planned at several state parks. The Arkansas-Oklahoma Astronomical Society will host a watch party at the Lake Fort Smith State Park marina.
Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs will present eclipse-themed educational programming and hands-on activities before and after the eclipse, and the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock will host a picnic and watch party.
NASA.gov reports that the last time most Americans experienced a total solar eclipse was 1979.
In 2017, an estimated 500 million people will be able to observe the solar eclipse in partial or total form: 391 million in the U.S., 35 million in Canada, and 119 million in Mexico.
Solar eclipses happen when the moon moves between Earth and the sun and the three line up close to the line of nodes, which represents the intersection of the orbital planes of the moon and Earth.
When the moon eclipses the sun, it produces the umbral shadow, the relatively small area where an observer can see a total eclipse, and the penumbral shadow, the larger area of a partial eclipse.
The next solar eclipse, viewable in the United States, is expected to take place on Monday, April 8, 2024.