City has stellar plans for eclipse

2 weeks ago

A once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse is coming to our area on Monday, April 8.  While solar eclipses take place roughly once every year and a half, a total solar eclipse will not occur again in the same location for another 375 years.

The eclipse will begin at 2:20 p.m., reaching totality for about 3 minutes at 3:33 p.m. and then returning to normal at 4:40 p.m.  Schools in SAD 1 will close early that day so that children will not be on the road during the eclipse and also so that they, too, may observe the eclipse.

Five special “Star Parks,” or designated viewing areas, will be set up around the city:  Gentile Hall parking lot at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Riverside Pavilion parking lot in downtown Presque Isle; the tarmac at General Aviation at Presque Isle International Airport; the parking lot in front of the Forum on the grounds of the Northern Maine Fair; and at the Aroostook Centre Mall.  

Food will be provided at the Forum location by Presque Isle Fire Department and at Riverside Pavilion by Grant Memorial United Methodist Church.  Directions to the Star Parks can be found on Presque Isle’s eclipse website:  

2024solareclipse.wixsite.com/2024-great-star-city. 

Special events are being planned in the days leading up to and even after the eclipse. Events begin on Wednesday, April 3, with family story time at Turner Memorial Library at 1 p.m. with a special reading of Jayme Sandberg’s book, “Total Solar Eclipse – a Stellar Friendship Story.”  

On Friday, April 5, events kick off with Presque Isle Rotary’s Silent Auction.  Saturday sees a wide array of events including free admission to Presque Isle Air Museum, the continuing Rotary Auction, free admission to the Maysville Museum, and activities at Aroostook Wildlife Refuge.  Most of these events continue on Sunday as well.  The Knights of Columbus will also hold an eclipse barbecue on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or until food runs out.  

On eclipse day, the James School will be open with free admission and special activities will be taking place at the Frances Malcolm Science Center including the Eclipse Extravaganza featuring the Hike into Darkness.  Eclipse Day is capped by a free concert featuring Marionette at the Forum from 6 to 8 p.m.  

For more information on all of the planned events, please visit the eclipse website.

Special glasses must be used to safely watch the eclipse.  The glasses must have an ISO 12312-2 designation to protect the eyes.  It is not too late to get your glasses.  Presque Isle High School’s National Honor Society is selling glasses to raise funds towards travel to state convention and some are still available at City Hall as well.  The glasses are being sold for $3 each.   

The eclipse may also be viewed by making a simple pin-hole projector.  Free instructions for making a pinhole projector can be found on the website.  

For more information on the city’s plans for eclipse, contact me using the information below.

Kimberly R. Smith is the resource development and public information officer for the city of Presque Isle. She can be reached at 760-2722 or via email at ksmith@presqueisleme.us.