Tri-Cities will see 96% of sun covered during Aug. 21 total solar eclipse

CBC planetarium hosting total solar...

PASCO, Wash. - In just ten days the United States will see a coast to coast total solar eclipse.

The path of totality passes through Oregon where viewers will see the moon completely cover the sun.

If you can't make the trip two hours south, the Bechtel National Planetarium at Columbia Basin College is encouraging the community to see the special event from the Tri-Cities.

"It's not necessarily a once-in-a-lifetime event but really over the next 100 years we're only going to see eight solar eclipses here in the United States, so it is pretty rare," said Erin Steinert, Planetarium Outreach Specialist.

She said the amount of coverage and length of the eclipse varies across the country, but the Tri-Cities is lucky to be so close to the path of totality.

Viewers will see 96 percent of the sun covered with a sliver of sunlight still visible.

"Here in the Tri-Cities the entire event goes from about 9:10 to 11:44 with the main show happening at 10:24 a.m.," said Steinert.

She said the sky will darken enough that Tri-Cities residents might be able to see Venus.

The planetarium is hosting a viewing party where they are giving away eclipse shades necessary to view the sun. There will also be solar telescopes on the observatory grounds and a film explaining the significance of the event.

The viewing party is 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the observatory. For more information click here.

The next coast to coast eclipse will be in 2045. The last time there was a total solar eclipse in the U.S. was 1979.

"Being so close to the path how can you not get excited about something like this and want to get outside and view it with your own eyes," said Steinert.

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