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How to experience the solar eclipse in Tampa Bay

There won’t be another total eclipse in North America until 2033.

A dark blue sky with the moon mostly covering the sun behind, which is shining beyond the moon in a small crescent shape. There are some stars visible in the sky.

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun.

Photo via Pexels

Turn around, bright eyes. There’s a total solar eclipse on its way to the US on Monday, April 8. The Moon will block sunlight in totality from 2:30 p.m. EDT on the Texas-Mexico border, and will cross the entire country to the Maine-Canada border at around 3:35 p.m. EDT.

Although the Tampa Bay area won’t feel the full effects of the eclipse, here’s how you can partake in this rare event:

What’s happening?

In the Tampa Bay area, the eclipse will begin around 1:43 p.m, but the most important time to prepare for is 3 p.m. That’s when we will see the largest obscuration of the sun, which will measure around 66%.

How to stay safe

First and foremost, it’s important to protect your eyes:

  • NASA advises the use of safe solar viewing glasses — also known as eclipse glasses — or a safe handheld solar viewer while watching the eclipse.
  • Please note that sunglasses, no matter how dark or UV-protected, are not going to keep your eyes safe.
  • These rules also apply to looking through a camera, phone, or other lens.

Here’s some glasses you can buy.

A map of the totality path across the United States. It spans from Texas up to Maine, with a green colored US landscape used.

The path of totality is 115 miles wide.

Screenshot via NASA

Where to watch in Tampa Bay

There are a whole host of eclipse watch parties taking place across the Tampa Bay area. Here are a few to check out:

  • The Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival + Visit St. Pete/Clearwater are hosting an eclipse party at Clearwater Beach, starting at 1:45 p.m. The first 2,500 people will receive a special pair of eclipse glasses.
  • A handful of TBAY libraries are also hosting events in honor of the occasion, including John F. Germany Public Library, Egypt Lake Partnership Library, Safety Harbor Public Library, and Seminole Community Library.
  • The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, and St. Pete’s Great Explorations Children’s Museum are both celebrating the eclipse with special events and ways to watch.
  • The St. Petersburg College Planetarium is open to the public from 1:30 to 4 p.m. where telescopes are available — with solar filters in place, of course.

With your glasses in hand, we also recommend hitting up one of our area’s gorgeous parks.

Heads up: For anyone with homemade solar eclipse viewers, don’t throw them out after the event. A USF professor is collecting them.

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