Catonsville, Arbutus prepare for Monday's solar eclipse

Maryland isn't in the path of next Monday's total solar eclipse, but that's not stopping area celebrations to mark the first total eclipse of the sun visible in the contiguous United States in 38 years.

The eclipse's path of totality — where one will be able to witness the total eclipse — consists of a 70-mile wide ribbon that will cross from Lincoln Beach, Ore. to near Charleston, S.C, according to NASA, which estimates about 500 million people in North America will be able to see it in total or partial form.


Marylanders will be able to see a partial solar eclipse that day, defined by NASA as when the moon covers part of the sun. In Catonsville and Arbutus, about 80 percent of the sun will be obscured, with the maximum eclipse taking place at about 2:42 p.m., according to NASA.

At the Banneker Planetarium on the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County, a movie about eclipses will be shown at 2 p.m. Aug, 21, followed by a viewing of the eclipse.


Experts caution that it is dangerous to look directly at the sun without special equipment, which will be available at the viewings.

The Benjamin Banneker Historical Park in Oella will host an event from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 21. Staff will be on hand to explain the eclipse's significance. Banneker, a former slave, was a self-taught astronomer, scientist and writer.

The Baltimore County Public Library will have eclipse-related events at several of its branches, including Arbutus and Catonsville. In Arbutus, a celebration that will include crafts, demonstrations and a viewing of the eclipse with eclipse viewing glasses starts at 1:30 p.m. A watch party will take place at the Catonsville branch starting at 2 p.m.

The library branches in Arbutus, Catonsville, Parkville and Northpoint will have viewing glasses available while supplies last. The Woodlawn, Rosedale and Reisterstown branches required registration for their events and are full, according to the library's website.

For those not attending the library event but attempting to score glasses the pickings are slim. Associates at the Towson Walmart, on Putty Hill Avenue, and Lowe's Home Improvement, in Parkville, said the stores sold out of glasses but continue to get dozens of calls a day from people who are searching for the hard-to-find spectacles.

The Monday forecast shows partly cloudy skies with a chance of afternoon showers.

—Margarita Cambest contributed to this report.