All eyes will be on the sky Monday across the United States during the highly-anticipated total solar eclipse and, in San Diego, there are plenty of places where you can safely watch the rare astronomical event.
Although San Diego is not located in the eclipse’s path of totality, locals will be able to see the partial eclipse beginning at 9:07 a.m. From San Diego’s vantage point, the eclipse will reach its maximum point of visibility at around 10:23 a.m.; the celestial phenomenon ends around 11:45 a.m.
In Balboa Park, the Fleet Science Center will host an eclipse viewing event starting at 9 a.m. in the plaza in front of the center. The free, all-ages outdoor event features educational activities such as a session with the Fleet’s resident astronomer, Dr. Lisa Will, who will answer questions about the eclipse. Visitors will also learn about the Sun, orbits of planets and more.
Attendees will get the opportunity to get crafty by making pin-hole projectors that can then be used to safely view the eclipse. For weeks, the Fleet has been selling solar eclipse glasses in anticipation of the big event. However, as of Thursday, the Fleet said they had sold out of those glasses and they will no longer be available at Monday's viewing party.
Still, the center said they will have other safe viewing options to share with those who attend the party.
Meanwhile, more than two dozen of the City of San Diego’s public libraries will take part in the "Sky Party @The Library." The gatherings, most of which start at 9:45 a.m., will feature activities such as scavenger hunts and story time during the eclipse. Some libraries will show a livestream of the eclipse, too.
Participating libraries include:
- Allied Gardens/Benjamin Library
- Balboa Library
- Carmel Valley Library
- San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common. *This location will also live-stream NASA coverage of the eclipse.
- College-Rolando Library
- La Jolla/Riford Library
- Linda Vista Library
- Logan Heights Library. *This location will also live-stream NASA coverage of the eclipse.
- Mira Mesa Library
- Mission Hills Library
- Mission Valley Library
- North Clairemont Library
- North Park Library
- North University Community Library *This location will also live-stream NASA coverage of the eclipse and host a Sunshine Storytime for children.
- Oak Park Library
- Ocean Beach Library
- Otay Mesa-Nestor Library
- Pacific Beach/Taylor Library
- Paradise Hills Library
- Point Loma/Hervey Library
- Rancho Bernardo Library
- Rancho Peñasquitos Library. *This location will also live-stream NASA coverage of the eclipse.
- San Ysidro Library
- Scripps Miramar Ranch Library
- Tierrasanta Library
- University Community Library. *This location will also live-stream NASA coverage of the eclipse.
The city’s website says each library will have a limited supply of solar eclipse viewing glasses to hand out at the Sky Party.
In San Diego’s North County, Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT), located at 918 Mission Ave., plans to set up 10 solar telescopes in the parking lot during the eclipse – from about 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Jason Brown, OPT’s director of marketing, said anyone could come out to the lot, for free, and take a look at the telescopes. However, as of Tuesday, Brown said OPT had sold out of their solar eclipse viewing glasses, so those will not be available for purchase there on the day of the eclipse.
And, according to NASA, eye protection during an eclipse is crucial; the only safe way to directly view an eclipse is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses. NASA has put together this list of eclipse safety tips.
At Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP), the Visitor Center will host a small gathering during the eclipse with the help of a few members from the San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA).
Kin Searly, vice president of the SDAA, said he, along with other members, will bring a couple of special solar telescopes to the Visitor Center -- including one with a white light filter -- so people can view the eclipse. Searly said another SDAA member will be positioned at the park's West Sycamore entrance, also with a telescope. He said members will provide a limited number of eclipse viewing glasses as well.
He said SDAA members will be available to answer questions about the eclipse throughout the gathering.
The MTRP Visitor Center also plans to livestream NASA's broadcast of the eclipse in the facility's 94-seat amphitheater. Since there are size constraints at this venue and parking is limited, the MTRP event will be small, a park official said.
Searly said only a few SDAA members will be there since most of them are out of town, traveling toward the eclipse's path of totality.
"They are chasing totality," he said. "And I don't blame them."
Now, if you’re up for a short Southern California road trip to view the eclipse, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will host viewing events on Monday. Mount Jacinto State Park Interpreter Allison Barnes will host a program on the viewing deck of the Tramway’s Mountain Station with the park providing solar viewing glasses for the first 50 people and a telescope with a solar filter.
Meanwhile, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles plans to host a free, public viewing party from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. that includes telescope viewing from the lawn, sidewalks and on the observatory’s solar telescope in the Hall of the Sky. Solar eclipse viewing glasses will be sold at the facility’s Stellar Emporium gift shop, which opens at 8 a.m. that day.
Monday’s total solar eclipse is exclusive to the U.S.The last total solar eclipse visible in the continental U.S. was on February 26, 1979, but we haven't a total solar eclipse exclusive to the U.S. since June 2018.
The eclipse’s 70-mile path of totality crosses through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North and South Carolina. All of North America that’s outside of the path – including San Diego – will be able to see a partial eclipse.