Special solar eclipse viewing glasses are one of the only ways to safely look directly at the sun during an eclipse. Regular sunglasses don't block enough sunlight. The eclipse glasses are on sale at Lowell Observatory. 

Taylor Mahoney Arizona Daily Sun

Although it’s far from the path of totality, Lowell Observatory’s Flagstaff campus will have its own eclipse-day events on Aug. 21.

Doors will open at 8 a.m. and the observatory will hold special activities throughout the day that include solar viewing through its telescopes, kids crafts, educator presentations and science demonstrations. A variety of local food trucks will be on site as well. There will also be a live stream of the total solar eclipse from the event the observatory is organizing in Madras, Oregon. That event will last from 9:06 a.m. to 11:41 a.m., with totality occurring between 10:19 a.m. and 10:21 a.m.

Regular admission rates will apply that day.

When the eclipse happens in Flagstaff, the city will experience a little more than 70 percent coverage of the sun. Here, the eclipse will begin at 9:14 a.m. with partial totality at 10:34 a.m. The eclipse will end at 12:01 p.m.

Lowell Director Jeff Hall cautioned that people staying in Flagstaff shouldn’t get their hopes up.

“Honestly if you didn't have all of this information and didn't know this was happening and had no idea that an eclipse was coming and a 70 percent eclipse went by, you might not even notice anything happened at all,” Hall said. It will look like daytime, maybe a little duskier with a small dip in the temperature, but that's about it, he said.

Hall also put out a fair warning to people who think they might just jump in the car and drive into the path of totality next Monday.

“Remember that wherever you are along the track, 100,000 of your closest friends have had the same idea," Hall said. "So get there early. It's going to be a zoo all along the track of totality." 

One interesting eclipse phenomenon that people in Flagstaff will be able to see happens with the shadows formed by leaves on a tree or bush. The small holes between the overlapping leaves simulate a pinhole camera and will cast an image of the moon passing over the sun on whatever surface the shadow falls.

The same thing can be created using a wicker basket, a colander or by pricking a hole in a piece of aluminum, Hall said.

In any place not in the path of totality, including Flagstaff, sunglasses alone won’t cut it for viewing the eclipse. More protective eyewear is necessary, or people can view the eclipse through a homemade pinhole projector. NASA produced a video, available at, that shows how to make one using a cereal box, aluminum foil, paper, tape, and scissors. Lowell Observatory has solar glasses on sale for $2 a pair and will also have telescopes set up with solar filters during its eclipse day events.

The observatory is expecting a lot of people to make their way up Mars Hill on Aug. 21, so anyone opting to walk or bike up the hill will avoid traffic and the search for a parking spot, spokeswoman Molly Baker said.

This article has been edited from its original version. 

Emery Cowan can be reached at (928) 556-2250 or


Emery Cowan writes about science, health and the environment for the Arizona Daily Sun, covering everything from forest restoration to endangered species recovery efforts.

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