Or grab your eclipse glasses and track the partial eclipse that will be visible across Washington state.
Perhaps you couldn’t afford that $80,000 helicopter expedition to Mount Jefferson or a $600 Airbnb in Bend. Maybe you were too late to snag a campsite or got scared off by the prospect of millions of Americans converging on a more-than-60-mile-wide strip of land.
Whatever the reason you won’t be watching the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse in person, that doesn’t mean you are entirely out of luck.
NASA will livestream the celestial extravaganza as it marches across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. And a partial eclipse will be unfolding in the skies all across Washington state, ranging from about 87 percent coverage in Blaine, Whatcom County, to more than 99 percent in Camas, Clark County.
In Seattle, about 92 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon. For Seattle, the eclipse will begin at 9:08 a.m., reach maximum coverage at 10:21 a.m. and be over by 11:39 a.m.
- Northwest, like the rest of the nation, thrilled by coast-to-coast celestial show
- Watch: Dramatic view of solar eclipse from Alaska Airlines flight on Boeing 737
- Seattle companies to workers for eclipse: Stop working and go outside
- Watch live video, find more live updates from our reporters, photographers
- Being awe-struck — by a solar eclipse or another event — has surprising benefits
- 5 stories about why we’re attracted to a total solar eclipse: Finding love, getting stoned
- NASA research plane flying from Seattle for eclipse mission
- ‘Great American eclipse’ will be the most-studied ever, thanks to citizen scientists
- How Seattle and the Northwest celebrated the last total solar eclipse
Don’t expect to see the dramatic features of a total solar eclipse — like midday darkness, stars and the solar corona. But with eclipse glasses, you can watch as the moon gradually reduces the sun to a sliver, then slowly moves away.
Here are some events, tips and ways to watch:
• NASA’s livestream (www.nasa.gov/eclipselive) will be available online starting at about 9 a.m. and will include videos and images from aircraft and balloons. (Eclipse glasses are not needed to watch online or on television.)
• Seattletimes.com reporters and photographers will deliver live coverage from around the Northwest.
• Some television stations, including The Weather Channel, will broadcast live video.
• Fourteen branches of the Seattle Public Library will show the NASA livestream beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21.
• Paying visitors can watch the livestream at the Museum of Flight’s auditorium or at the Pacific Science Center, which will open at 8:30 a.m. on eclipse day. The science center will also host an eclipse-viewing event and provide eclipse glasses with admission to the first 800 visitors.
• The Museum of Flight will host a free viewing event on the lawn, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., with NASA and museum staff on hand. Free eclipse glasses will be available to the first 1,000 visitors.
Several community centers and libraries across Seattle will host outdoor viewing parties. Free eclipse glasses will be available as long as supplies last.
• Bryant Neighborhood Playground, 40th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 65th Street, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 21.
• High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St., 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 21.
• South Park Community Center, 8319 Eighth Ave. S., 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 21.
• Northgate Branch, 10548 Fifth Ave. N.E., 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 21.
Some King County library branches, including Des Moines, Redmond, Bellevue, Shoreline and Valley View are hosting eclipse-viewing events from 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. with free eclipse glasses available as long as supplies last.
A few King County library branches also have pre-eclipse information sessions scheduled this week.
Protect your eyes
Don’t try to watch the partial solar eclipse without eclipse glasses or a pinhole projector. You could seriously damage your eyes. In areas where the eclipse will be total — which doesn’t include Washington — it’s safe to look directly at the sun without eye protection only during the minute or two of totality, when the moon blocks the entire face of the sun.
During a partial eclipse, the sun is never completely blocked. Even when it’s just a sliver, the sun can fry your eyes if you look directly at it without eclipse glasses.
If you don’t already have eclipse glasses, finding them could be tough. Some Seattle and King County libraries may still have a few free pairs. REI, some Lowe’s stores and some Circle K’s have had them in stock, but may be sold out.
For shopping online, beware of substandard versions. Look for ISO 12312-2 certification. The American Astronomical Society (https://aas.org) published a list of reputable vendors, along with a list of retail chains selling certified glasses. The AAS also offers tips on how to tell if your eclipse glasses meet the standard.