April 8th Solar Eclipse — with New Solar Viewing Equipment!

The Southern Vermont Astronomy Group, in a joint effort with the Weathersfield Proctor Library and the Reading Public Library has been awarded a nearly $5,000 grant for the purchase of a solar telescope with hydrogen-alpha filter, a tripod and motorized mount, and assorted eyepieces. The hydrogen-alpha filter on this telescope provides a very clear orange image of the textured surface of the sun and the spectacular coronal flares around its perimeter, showing details which are not possible through less expensive solar viewers.

Weather permitting, the telescope will be set up on Hoisington Field in Perkinsville, VT on the afternoon of April 8, 2024, to allow the public to observe the eclipse, which will run from roughly 2 p.m. to 4:30 pm. The total eclipse will occur at 3:26 p.m. and will only last about three minutes. If you have solar viewing glasses, bring them with you. A limited number will be available at the event.

If the skies cooperate, we will have an opportunity to watch as the moon slowly moves toward and across the disk of the sun, briefly covering nearly all of it (from our perspective in Weathersfield), then as slowly passing off of the disk, revealing the sun again. It will look rather like watching the moon move from a full moon through to new moon and back again to full, in the span of a couple hours, except that in this event what we will be seeing will be a full sun, a half sun, a quarter sun, a crescent sun.

If the skies do not cooperate, we will still experience an eerie near darkness at mid-afternoon, and we will meet at the 1879 Schoolhouse, adjacent to Hoisington Field, where guest speaker Claudio VĂ©liz, will give a presentation on eclipses (If the skies look like they may be clear, Claudio will be further north, in the path of totality).

So, join us at Hoisington Field on April 8th for the eclipse. You can arrive as early as 2:00 pm, with the darkest moments of the eclipse occurring a little after 3:15 pm. Clear skies or not, hot chocolate will be provided.