Solar Eclipse viewing in Natchitoches

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Eclipse peak time in Natchitoches will be at 1:18pm CDT. Natchitoches will only experience a partial eclipse.

By Wiley Butler, Official National Weather Cooperative Observer

To date, Natchitoches’ August rainfall this year is above normal at 4.49 inches. Rain was observed for a six consecutive day period from Aug 7 to Aug. 12.

Summer season 2017 for Natchitoches thus far has not been harsh as far as air temperatures observed like summers of 1936, 1980, 1998 and 2011, although high humidity levels and afternoon heat index values in the 105-108 degree range prevail this month. A 100-degree afternoon reading has not been observed as of Aug. 19 for the City. The official National Weather Service 2017 maximum temperature for Natchitoches to date is 98 degrees observed the afternoon of July 28.

As of Aug. 16, the average high-temperature is 89.6 degrees and the average low temperature is computed at 74.6 degrees. No records have been set despite the below normal temperature readings the first of this month.

A partial solar eclipse will peak at 1:20:01 p.m. Monday for Natchitoches’ location. Given a 100 percent clear sky or very few clouds, 10 percent, a temperature drop (few degrees) should occur around 1:20:01 pm CDT due to the eclipse dimming the sun’s rays at Natchitoches. NOAA, National Weather Service forecasts highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s to persist through Aug. 23 with no cold front passages on the horizon.

Parish Library hosting viewing party

You can bet your bottom dollar there will be a great spectacle across the entire United States Monday. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many to see a total eclipse. Natchitoches does not fall into the window of totality; however, it will be in the penumbra, or outer part of the shadow being cast, and will get 70-80 percent coverage of the sun.

The Natchitoches Parish Library (NPL) will host a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party Aug. 21 from 1-2 p.m. Peak eclipse time is 1:15-1:20 p.m. They will distribute safe solar-viewing glasses while supplies last.

Use only approved safety glasses for viewing the eclipse.

Dr. Chad Thibodeaux, assistant professor of chemistry at NSU, will lead the viewing party and demonstrate the use of a solar telescope. Library patrons who took part in a solar eclipse safety and informational webinar from StarNet received a pair of solar viewing glasses. It is unsafe and can cause permanent damage to the eyes to view the eclipse outside of totality. For Natchitoches viewers, this means if you do not have proper viewing glasses (not just sunglasses, or multiple pairs), you are at risk. If you do not have a pair there are many indirect viewing methods, the simplest of which is viewing a “projection” from a pinhole.

View the eclipse over the Cane River

While the path of total eclipse stretches from Oregon to South Carolina, a partial solar eclipse can be enjoyed at Cane River Creole National Historical Park. Watch the eclipse with park staff at Magnolia Plantation Monday, Aug. 21 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. There will be talks with rangers, citizen science and other eclipse activities. You can make a pinhole projector and a limited number of safe solar glasses will be available. Feel free to bring your own NASA approved solar viewers, blanket and/or chair, snacks and experience the eclipse across America.

Due to the nature of this event, weather can impede the eclipse viewing. If the weather is a concern on the day of the event, check the park Facebook page or call 318-352-0383, ext. 316 for an update.

There is no entrance fee at Magnolia Plantation. Magnolia Plantation is located at 5549 Hwy. 119, Cloutiersville/Derry La 71456. To reach Magnolia Plantation, take I-49 to Exit 119 Derry. Head east on LA Highway 119. Cross over LA Highway 1 and proceed two miles. The grounds of Magnolia Plantation are on the right. For more information, call 318-352-0383 ext. 200.