FSW opens observatory for solar eclipse

Lee Herald Favicon 16Florida SouthWestern State College is opening its doors to local stargazers by inviting them to view a solar eclipse from the James & Barbara Moore Observatory on the school’s Punta Gorda campus.

Residents can view the August 21 eclipse for free at the observatory from 1:30 p.m.- 4 p.m.

The rare astronomical event will darken the sky along a 70-mile swath between Oregon and South Carolina.

Special equipment is required to safely view the eclipse and the observatory has limited quantities on hand so attendees are encouraged to bring their own.

“We will have three or four telescopes with proper filters available for use and limited eyeglass filters, so we are encouraging participants to bring their own certified eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers,” said Observatory Director David Hanson.

Those interested in checking out the rare event can learn how to purchase certified eclipse viewing gear at NASA’s website.

Hanson encourage residents to attempt to view the eclipse even if they could not make it to the observatory, but urged the importance of safety equipment.

“Even if people can’t make it to the observatory, they should try to see what’s happening,” Hanson said. “The view is the same from anywhere in the state, but proper safety filters are required wherever you are located.”

FSW plans to open the James & Barbara Moore Observatory to the public on the third Friday of every month beginning in September. For more information, call (941) 637-5652.

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