Sun comes out for solar eclipse class

Roger Kennedy (left) aligns a telescope as a young audience member looks on during his presentation about the sun at Lynnwood Library, Sunday, July 23, 2017. Photo gallery

The morning clouds broke right on cue Sunday at the Lynnwood Library.

As Roger and Linda Kennedy were busy setting up for their presentation about the sun and solar eclipse, librarian Sarah Zabel had her fingers crossed that the telescopes would be able to see anything. “I was getting a little worried,” said Zabel, standing in a crowd of more than 200 on the sun-bathed sidewalk outside the library.

The Kennedys travel the country giving presentations about the sun and solar astronomy. They set up filtered telescopes and a spectroscope for safe viewing of the sun. The retired couple is based in Albuquerque, N.M., and receive funding from NASA’s Goddard Flight Center, Sandia National Laboratories and other sources.

That a rare solar eclipse will be visible in the U.S. on Aug. 21 is adding to the interest and prompting larger crowds.

As part of the presentation, participants can make bracelets of pipe cleaners and beads sensitive to ultraviolet light. The beads are white inside where the bracelets are made, but turn colors as soon as they are hit by sunlight.

The Kennedys also hand out protective glasses that make it safe to look at the sun. Roger Kennedy hammered home the safety aspect. “Looking at the sun without glasses or a filter like these can make you go blind,” he said. “Did you ever burn a piece of paper using a magnifying glass in the sun? Looking at the sun through a telescope without a filter will do that to your eye before you can look away.”

Starting Tuesday, July 25, Sno-Isle Libraries has 23 more solar, eclipse and astronomy presentations scheduled at community libraries between now and Aug. 21. Presenters will include the Kennedys, former NASA consultant Kevin Manning, the Island County Astronomical Society and community librarians.  Details on the events listed below are available at the Sno-Isle Libraries event calendar.

Lynnwood Library

  • Sunday, July 23, 1 p.m.

Monroe Library

  • Tuesday, July 25, 1 p.m.

Lake Stevens Library

  • Thursday, July 27, 1 p.m.

Marysville Library

  • Saturday, July 29, 1:30 p.m.

Mukilteo Library

  • Monday, July 31, 2 p.m.

Stanwood Library

  • Tuesday, Aug. 1, 1 p.m.

Coupeville Library

  • Thursday, Aug. 3, 1 p.m.
    *Andy and Ruth Nielsen, Island County Astronomical Society

Darrington Library

  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 1 p.m.

Edmonds Library

  • Monday, Aug. 7, 1 p.m.

Sultan Library

  • Tuesday, Aug. 8, 11 a.m.

Monroe Library

  • Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2 p.m.

Darrington Library

  • Wednesday, Aug. 9, 11 a.m.

Granite Falls Library

  • Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2 p.m.

Camano Island Library

  • Thursday, Aug. 10, 1 p.m.

Stanwood Library

  • Thursday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m.

Coupeville Library

  • Wednesday, Aug. 9, 1 p.m.

Brier Library

  • Friday, Aug. 11, 1 p.m.

Arlington Library

  • Friday, Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m.
    *Twin Rivers Park
  • Saturday, Aug. 12, 1 p.m.
    *Stillaguamish Conference Room, Haller Park.

Clinton, Freeland and Langley libraries

  • Saturday, Aug. 12, 3 p.m.
    Clinton Community Hall, 6411 S. Central Ave.

Mill Creek Library

  • Sunday, Aug. 13, 1 p.m.

Snohomish Library

  • Monday, Aug. 21, 9:30 a.m.
    *Program by library staff

Camano Island Library

  • Monday, Aug. 21, 10 a.m.
    *Registration required

Mariner Library

  • Monday, Aug. 21, 10 a.m.
    *Museum of Flight, “Suited for Space” at 10:30, registration required