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Solar Eclipse Viewing at Fort Vancouver & History of Eclipses Lecture, August 21, 2017

Image of the June 27, 1862 solar eclipse from the Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collection 1862.

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will cross the continental United States for the first time in 38 years. National Parks across the country are planning special eclipse-viewing events, including Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

At the bookstore, artist Lillian Pitt will launch her exclusive new line of Eclipse Over the Warm Springs Nation jewelry and masks.

At 11:30 am, as the eclipse ends, Confluence Project Historian and Friends Executive Director Mary Rose will present "Plunge into Darkness: Historical Eclipses that Crossed the Pacific Northwest," a special lecture on the history of eclipses in our region. This talk will take place at the Visitor Center.

Though the park is usually closed on Mondays, the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center will be open from 9 am to 1 pm. Visitors are welcome to view the eclipse from the vantage point of the park's Parade Ground or Great Meadow. Throughout the event, national park rangers will be roving the park grounds to answer questions. The eclipse will begin at 9:06 and will end at 11:38 am. Vancouver, Washington, is not in the path of totality, but is very close! Visitors to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on the day of the eclipse will see the moon cover 99% of our view of the sun.

From 9 am to 1 pm, the Friends of Fort Vancouver bookstore at the Visitor Center will also be open. Eclipse viewing glasses, which allow their wearers to look at the eclipse safely, will be for sale. (Note: It is never safe to look at the sun except for the brief total phase of a solar eclipse ("totality"), when the moon entirely blocks the sun's bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters such as "eclipse glasses" or handheld solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standards for such products.) Learn more about viewing the eclipse safely.

"This eclipse is a unique and perhaps once-in-a-lifetime event," said Superintendent Tracy Fortmann, "National parks like Fort Vancouver National Historic Site are great places to experience natural and historic events in a natural and historic setting. This event offers a great opportunity for our community to gather and witness this fascinating celestial occurrence."

What: 2017 Solar Eclipse at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Where: Fort Vancouver Visitor Center (1501 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661) and National Park grounds

When: The Fort Vancouver Visitor Center will be open from 9 am to 1 pm. Other park facilities (including the reconstructed fort and Pearson Air Museum) will remain closed. The eclipse will take place from 9:06 am to 11:38 am. The period of 99% totality will occur at 10:19 am.

Cost: Free

Solar glasses are available for $2.50

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