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Get Ready for the Eclipse, Partially Visible in our Area

Updated Aug. 21, 2017: Thanks for joining us for the 2017 eclipse at the Central Library! A nice crowd gathered inside and outside, watching the live stream and sharing glasses and exclamations of awe at the partial eclipse in Bellingham.


The countdown is underway! People around the country are eagerly anticipating one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights: a total solar eclipse.

On the morning of Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see the total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.

Observers outside this path – such as here in Bellingham – will still be treated to a great view of celestial events. Our area can see a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.

No Eclipse Glasses Available at Bellingham Libraries

Bellingham Public Library is not distributing solar eclipse viewing glasses. While many news reports advise people to check with their local public libraries for glasses, we have no glasses to distribute and we know of no local source for them.

Watch Live Stream of Eclipse at Central Library

Bellingham Public Library will display eclipse coverage at the Central Library on Monday, Aug. 21, exact location in the library to be determined. The Central Library opens at 10 a.m. that day and we expect to provide live-streamed coverage from when we open until about noon.

Eclipse Timing for Bellingham

Times for partial and total phases of the eclipse vary depending on location.  Here’s the timetable for the eclipse in Bellingham:

  • Start of partial eclipse: 9:09 58 seconds a.m.
  • Maximum eclipse: 10:21 30 seconds a.m.
  • End of partial eclipse: 12:38 42 seconds p.m.

Eclipse Resources

We have collected some key resources from among dozens and dozens of great sources to help people have a safe, interesting eclipse experience.

  • Solar Eclipse 2017

Check out this list of websites and books to enhance your experience of the total solar eclipse, including links to a live stream of the eclipse when it is in progress.

  • Library handouts and display

A display on the main floor at our Central Library provides handouts and other materials for people interested in the eclipse, including take-home instructions for building a pinhole camera to protect your eyes. These handouts are printable and linked below:

Make a pinhole projector

NASA guide to the 2017 Eclipse Across America

More About Protecting Your Eyes

Protect your eyes while observing the eclipse! While not in the path of totality, Bellingham is in the 90% path and requires either special glasses or projectors to view the partial eclipse safely.  Looking directly at the sun, even during a partial eclipse, may damage your eyes. Here are alternatives for protecting your eyes:

About the Stanford SOLAR Center: Acting as the education and public outreach arm of the Solar Observatories Group, and funded by NASA, the SOLAR Center provides resources, activities, and projects relating to the Sun for teachers, students, and the public.

About the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP):  ASP partners with NASA, AAS, National Science Foundation, and other leading professional and educational organizations in North America and overseas to advance science literacy through astronomy.

  • The Whatcom Museum is offering a workshop for building a device on August 19. Cost is $5-$10.