Ready for the solar eclipse? Camas Library can help

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The Camas Public Library has hundreds of safe, solar eclipse viewing glasses to hand out at its Solar Eclipse Block Party, which will be held from 9 to 11 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21 in front of the library in downtown Camas.

By Tori Benavente, Post-Record staff writer

A total solar eclipse will rise across the nation on August 21 and will run through Eastern Oregon and the coast, allowing for the Camas-Washougal community to have the opportunity to experience this event where the moon completely overtakes the sun.

While there are many types of eclipses, the last total solar eclipse to be visible in the U.S. was in July 1991 and was only partly visible in Hawaii, according to Eclipse 2017. In 1979, Washington was one of few states in the pathway of a total solar eclipse but, unfortunately, most views were blocked by rainclouds.

This year’s eclipse will draw thousands of people into the area, and the Camas Public Library has organized events for the Camas-Washougal community to learn about and experience the eclipse together.

The library will host an informational event prior to the eclipse, and a block party, where safe eclipse viewing glasses will be handed out.

The party will close access to Fourth Avenue and Franklin Street in downtown Camas.

Author John Dvorak, a 1969 Camas High graduate, will lead the informational event, “Solar Eclipse Explained!” from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12 in the Camas Public library.

Dvorak plans to explain how to view the eclipse safely and tell event participants why this eclipse is a big deal.

“There’s a whole host of things to see, it does not just get dark,” Dvorak, 65, said. “It’s a spectacular event to see in the sky and it’s precisely predictable.”

While most natural events, such as comets or meteor showers, are unpredictable, an eclipse is 100 percent certain, and eclipse forecasters know exactly when and where the eclipse will take place, he said.

The eclipse in Camas will begin around 9:06 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, reach its maximum visibility a little more than an hour later, at 10:19 a.m., and end at 11:38 a.m. that morning.

The library’s Aug. 21 Eclipse Party is set for 9 to 11 a.m., to include maximum eclipse viewing times. The event will feature activities and eclipse-focused crafts for children.

Hello Waffle, The Hungrys Bakery and 9 Bar Espresso will be at the viewing to ensure there’ are good eats to go along with the experience.

Karen Nicholson, a library associate involved with planning the event, said there will be many eclipse-related crafts and that she hopes hundreds of people will attend, have fun and make the day a memorable one.

Dvorak said getting the chance to view the eclipse will be a truly phenomenal life event for many community members.

“It’s sort of like a milestone, because it’s such an unusual event,” he said. “The big news of this eclipse is all of the people, there’s going to be tens-of-millions of people (viewing the eclipse).”

Dvorak calls this event the “Woodstock of the 21st Century.”

“It’s going to be like a spontaneous bringing together of people for this one event, and for years afterward, people will continue to talk about how they arrived at the path of totality, what they saw and what they felt,” he said.

Dvorak earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Washington and a doctorate in planetary geophysics from the University of California, according to the Camas Public Library. He retired after a long career of studying volcanoes and operating a telescope in the Hawaiian Islands.

He is the author of three books, and his latest book, Mask of the Sun: The Science, History and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses, was released in March.

Dvorak will spend a few days in Camas with his family, before heading to Eastern Oregon to view the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.