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Solar eclipse on Monday: Won’t occur again until 2044

On Monday, April 8 the moon will perfectly align with the sun, casting a massive shadow across the Earth.

And although such solar eclipses occur at least twice each year, due to the size of the planet, the effect is only visible from certain areas, which, more often that not, are out in the middle of the ocean.

That’s why Monday’s celestial event is getting so much attention: the so-called “path of totality” will sweep across the heart of the United States, from southeast Texas to northeast Maine.

Here on the East End, where Monday’s weather is expected to clear, the moon will cover roughly 90% of the sun, creating a partial eclipse, which will peak between 3 and 3:30 p.m.

Several area parks and other local organizations are hosting events to celebrate the rare viewing opportunity, which won’t happen again in our area until 2044.

The Shelter Island School Science Club and students will gather outside on Monday for the event.

The New York State Department of Parks is hosting a free event at Hallock State Park Preserve in Riverhead from 2 to 4:30 p.m. “Retired Professor of Astronomy and Geology George Lomaga will bring viewing equipment, including his telescope equipped with a solar viewing lens,” the park website states.

“Parks staff will provide activities and interpretation of the eclipse and we will watch to see its effects on wildlife in the area.”

Participants will also receive a free pair of solar eclipse viewing glasses. For more information, call 631-315-5475. Proper eye protection is important during a solar eclipse — wearing only sunglasses can cause eye damage.

The Shelter Island Library have the special viewing glasses, but as of yesterday, supplies were low.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “The most important step to ensure New Yorkers enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event is to protect your eyes. ISO certified eclipse glasses will shield your eyes from serious and possibly permanent damage, which can occur by looking at the eclipse with regular sunglasses or without any eye protection.”