On Saturday, an annular solar eclipse will arc across the United States between Oregon and Texas from about 11 a.m. to noon. Weather-permitting, we should see a bit of the solar show in Minnesota.
For those of you who haven't slipped on a pair of eclipse glasses since elementary school, an annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth as its orbit is farthest from Earth, casting a shadow that partially blocks the sunlight. (In a total eclipse, it fully blocks the sun.)
In Minnesota, the eclipse will peak at about 11:45 a.m. with about 45% coverage of the sun. And a few local organizations are hosting events to make eclipse-viewing more enriching and fun. (Hang onto your eye protection and mark your calendar for April 8, 2024, when a total solar eclipse will cross the U.S.)
The Bell is offering several free activities outside its building on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus, along with pinhole projectors, UV detectors, telescopes and experts to answer "burning" questions.
Inside the museum, they'll have make-your-own flip books of the eclipse path and a giant model of the sun, moon and Earth, plus a livestream of the eclipse from New Mexico, which should experience the peak "ring of fire" view. The planetarium will show "Totality," about eclipses (additional fee), and the museum shop has limited-edition Bell Museum eclipse glasses for purchase, too. Outdoor events take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 2088 W. Larpenteur Av., Falcon Heights, bellmuseum.umn.edu
Commons Park, Fridley
A local NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador hosts a viewing event for the Muslim community with an eclipse prayer (salatul Kusoof) at Fridley's Commons Park. Solar glasses will be available. (Please RSVP to 2023 Solar Eclipse Viewing Event via Eventbrite). 6249 NE. 7th St., Fridley, eventbrite.com
Eagle Lake Observatory
At Baylor Regional Park in Carver County, the Minnesota Astronomical Society will provide free eclipse-viewing opportunities through telescopes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; 10775 County Road 33, Norwood-Young America, mnastro.org
Highland Park, New Ulm
The New Ulm Public Library hosts WCCO radio meteorologist Mike Lynch to share his eclipse expertise with viewers gathered at Highland Park, 10:30 a.m. A limited number of eclipse glasses will be available. (If skies are overcast, the presentation moves to the library.) 1627 N. 5th St., New Ulm, newulmmn.gov
Science Museum of Minnesota
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, visitors will find eclipse-related interactive activities and demonstrations as well as several viewing options at the museum's various outdoor spaces. The museum will have telescopes on hand as well as eclipse glasses for sale. 120 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, smm.org
Wild River State Park
For viewing the eclipse in a natural environment, staffers at Wild River State Park will bring out solar glasses between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. 39797 Park Trail, Center City, Minn., dnr.state.mn.us