County Gearing Up for Partial Solar Eclipse on August 21

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Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Supervisor Dave Cortese

Even though Santa Clara County won’t be in the path of a total solar eclipse from 9:02 to 11:54 a.m. on Monday, August 21, we will get to view a partial eclipse, with about 75 percent of the sun being covered.

This is a rare and exciting event that you won’t want to miss. But please make sure you have the proper glasses.  Looking directly at the sun will injure your eyes.  If you’re looking through a telescope or camera, you will need a special filter.  The Space Science Institute is distributing more than 2 million pairs of eclipse glasses through libraries across the U.S., including County Libraries and City of San Jose Libraries. Contact your local library for information about when and where the glasses will be available.

There will be many areas for viewing in Santa Clara County, including San Jose’s Hogue Park.  The San Jose Astronomical Association is hosting a free viewing event from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, August 21, at Hogue Park in West San Jose. Visit www.sjaa.net/events/solar-eclipse-2017 for more information and to RSVP.

Several local libraries are also providing special presentations and watching parties:

• Dr. Andrew Fraknoi, astronomy professor at Foothill College, will lead a discussion from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, at the Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street, Milpitas. The library will also host a viewing event on the fourth floor of the parking garage, starting at 9 a.m.

 SJAA will also conduct a solar eclipse viewing workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, at the Bascom Branch Library, 1000 Bascom Avenue, San Jose.

 Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, is hosting a watching party on campus from 9 to 11 a.m. at Vari Hall Lawn. Visit www.scu.edu for more details and to register.

 Cupertino Library will show the NASA Total Eclipse life feed at 10 a.m. to noon in the Story Room Ground Floor.

And here’s something you might not have thought about. In California, the eclipse will reduce solar energy supplies that help power the grid for more than two hours while the moon blocks the sun. The California Public Utilities Commission is asking all of us to conserve energy during the time the eclipse is expected to occur in California, 9:02 to 11:54 a.m. Sunlight is one of our greatest sources of clean energy, and having less of it means we rely more on other more expensive and less efficient sources like natural gas.

Over the past few year, the County has been reducing power usage at its facilities through lighting retrofits and recommissioning its heating and cooling systems.  Nonetheless, we will work with our departments and our employees to temporarily reduce energy usage even more at our County buildings like the County Government Center through lowering lights where possible, turning up the thermostat 2 to 5 degrees, not charging electronics, and not using appliances.  

You can do the same at home.  You can replace lightbulbs with LEDs, turn off lights, not charge electronics, unplug appliances not in use and, if you have air conditioning, turn up your thermostat. The CPUC would like you to take an online pledge to “give the sun a break” at ia.cpuc.ca.gov/caleclipse.

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