Where you can watch the solar eclipse in the suburbs

Don't miss the upcoming solar eclipse, because the next comparable one in our area won’t come until 2099, and at 75 years that will certainly be a long wait.

Excitement among astronomy enthusiasts and casual observers has been simmering for months, if not years, and now the April 8 eclipse, during which the moon passes between the sun and our planet Earth, almost completely covering the former and casting a shadow on the latter, has finally arrived. The eclipse will begin around 12:51 p.m. and end around 3:22 p.m.

The 2017 solar eclipse. Daily Herald file

But don't try to watch with the naked eye or take photos on a digital camera, because doing so could result in permanent damage to retinas of the eyes and camera sensors. Instead, be sure to use specially designed glasses to protect your eyes, and use commercially available filters to protect your camera.

Then, share the excitement at one of many scheduled viewing events planned throughout the suburbs.

Among the highlights, William Rainey Harper College in Palatine will host a solar eclipse viewing event Monday from 12:30 until 3:30 p.m. that is open to the public as well as students, faculty and staff. Safe-viewing glasses will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and science tables will be set up in the quad with food and refreshments available.

People packed the front lawn for a solar eclipse viewing party at Harper College in Palatine in 2017. Daily Herald File Photo

“We're expecting a lot of people,” said Associate Professor Raeghan Graessle, who teaches physics and is the event organizer. “The whole campus is going to be there also — the community and campus together — it's going to be amazing.”

Solar telescopes with the proper filter fitted for safe viewing will be set up for people to see the eclipse in greater detail, and viewers can momentarily borrow Solar Snaps filters to take photos with cellphones.

Fun and learning

  Vernon Hills residents watch the eclipse in 2017 during a Solar Eclipse Celebration at Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills. Paul Valade/

Part of the motivation behind hosting the event is to provide an educational experience to members of the community as well as Harper College students, faculty and staff, Graessle said.

“We need to provide this opportunity to the community as well as for our own campus,” Graessle said. “So it's fun and learning, but it's also a responsibility we have.

“We would love to see the community come out to our campus and experience the eclipse together. It will be wonderful.”

Aspen Drive Library visitors watch the eclipse in 2017 at the Aspend Drive Library in Vernon Hills. Daily Herald File Photo

If you can’t make it to Harper’s event, plenty of other suburban schools, libraries and other community resources are welcoming people to share the eclipse experience. Among them, here's a rundown of some other public events, all of them free and set for Monday, April 8, unless otherwise noted:

Arlington Heights: On Monday, The Arlington Heights Memorial Library began distributing eclipse glasses provided with funding from the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. The library will continue to offer the glasses through Monday, when it will host a viewing event at nearby North School Park.

Barrington: Use the Crabtree Nature Center’s scope and sun viewers to watch the eclipse safely from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 3 Stover Road.

Crystal Lake: The Crystal Lake Park District Nature Center at 330 N. Main St. will host an event that includes outdoor experiments and crafts from 12:30 until 3:30.

Elgin: The Fox Valley Astronomical Society will be at Gail Borden Library, Rakow Branch, 2751 West Bowes Road, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with two solar telescopes. Free eclipse glasses will be available to the public.

Elmhurst: A viewing party will take place at Wilder Park, 225 Prospect Ave., from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. including games and snacks, with eclipse glasses provided .

Fox Lake: Learn about information resources on the solar eclipse and view it through a classic pin hole box among activities at Fox Lake District Library, 255 East Grand Ave., 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m in the south parking lot. A limited number of solar eclipse glasses will be available to use during the event. Snacks will be provided.

Mount Prospect: The Mount Prospect Public Library, 10. S. Emerson St., will host an event from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. If the weather is clear, meet at Pocket Park. Eclipse viewing glasses will be available while supplies last. If weather is cloudy or inclement, meet at the library in the youth department program room, where the eclipse will be livestreamed.

Mundelein: State Rep. Daniel Didech of Buffalo Grove and Lake County Treasurer Holly Kim of Mundelein will host a viewing party from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Kracklauer Park, 116 N. Lake St. Free safety glasses will be provided by the Illinois Optometric Association. Snacks will be available.

Naperville: An event is set at Whalon Lake, Royce Road, west of 53/Bolingbrook Drive from 1:30 until 2:30 p.m. The first 50 attendees will receive free viewing glasses . There will also be a campfire.

Oak Brook: The Forest Preserve of DuPage County is having an all-ages Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at Fullersburg Woods from 12:30 until 3:30. The maximum eclipse will take place at 2:07 p.m. There will be solar viewing glasses, activities, crafts and in case of clouds, a livestream of the eclipse.

Prospect Heights: The Prospect Heights Public Library, 12 N. Elm St., will host an event from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. that will include solar-protection glasses and a fun kit of activities and learning.

Streamwood: Viewers can gather in Meeting Room 1 at Poplar Creek Public Library, 1405 S. Park Ave. from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., then walk to the viewing site at Rahlfs Woods. The library will supply solar glasses. Registration is but drop-ins are welcome.

Wheaton: The Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St., will have free eclipse glasses available while supplies last from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants can complete a craft and both watch as the eclipse is livestreamed or view it outside in the west plaza.

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