Eight Things to Know About Watching the Eclipse in Montgomery County

Where to watch the eclipse, buy eclipse milkshakes and check for eclipse glasses


Published:

VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

During Monday’s solar eclipse, the path of total blackout will lie more than 400 miles south of Montgomery County.

The good news is … county residents can still celebrate being inside the path of 80 percent!

But, aside from the fact that it hasn’t happened in decades in the continental U.S., why is this eclipse getting people so excited?

“I was just talking about this with my husband, and we got a little dark and existential. Maybe, sometimes you just need a break from routine and life in general, and this is sort of a standout thing,” said Carrie Fitzgerald, astronomy professor at Montgomery College. “Or it just could be that it’s cool to look at.”

The great thing about a solar eclipse, even a partial one, is that you can spot it from your backyard or you can make an event out of it, Fitzgerald noted.

If you have a budget, you have infinite viewing options. For instance, you could gaze out the window of your private jet while sipping champagne. Or buy this $6 million Michigan estate that’s advertised as an “eclipse-watching mansion” because of its observatory.

Otherwise, here are eight things Montgomery County umbraphiles (eclipse lovers) should know:

  1. Montgomery Parks is hosting two parties. One is at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park in Silver Spring and the other is at Black Hill Visitor Center in Boyds. Viewing glasses will be available at both events. The gathering at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park will last from 1 to 4 p.m., and dancing will be involved. The Black Hill event will run from noon to 4 p.m.

  2. Montgomery County Public Libraries is planning a number of viewing parties, although registration has already filled up for some. Kensington Park Library and Davis Library in Bethesda will get things started at 2 p.m. At Wheaton Library, fun with pinhole cameras is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

  3. Solar eclipse milkshakes exist, and they’re in Silver Spring. Lincoln’s Bar-B-Que at 931 Ellsworth Drive is offering the treat Saturday through Monday in honor of the blackout, according to a news release. The chocolate shake is rimmed with sprinkles and orange M&M’s (to symbolize the stars that’ll come out when the sun goes black). They will be topped with whipped cream and finished off with a circular ice-cream sandwich rolled in yellow sugar sprinkles (to symbolize the sun’s corona). Drinking one will cost you $10.

  4. Montgomery College is inviting people to watch a live broadcast of the total eclipse on its Takoma Park planetarium dome. The event will begin at about 12:30 p.m., with a presentation about how and why eclipses take place. If the sky outside is clear, the planetarium director will let people watch the partial eclipse through several telescopes fitted with solar filters. Free viewing glasses will be on hand.

  5. Another gathering is planned for Observatory Park in Gaithersburg from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be free solar viewers, projects, experiments and a livestream of the total eclipse.

  6. Adventure Park in Sandy Spring wants people to “zip the eclipse” on Monday. The park, which has 13 trails and 29 zip lines, is advertising its forest climbing course as an ideal spot to watch the eclipse. Viewing glasses will be available for sale, according to the website.

  7. It’s tough to find eclipse glasses at this point. Time wrote an overview of reputable vendors and places to buy the glasses in person, although most stores are out of stock. Warby Parker is giving them away at its retail sites, one of which is in Bethesda Row, but a voice message at the eye care store indicated that most locations have run out. (Note: Eclipse glasses should not be worn while driving somewhere to watch the eclipse, according to state transportation officials.)

  8. Maryland state troopers are warning you: Don't have an eclipse in judgment.

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