Katie Bucklin of Falmouth and Renee DiMillo of Portland watch the tail end of a solar eclipse in August 2017 from Main Street in Freeport. Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald

Southern Mainers who stay put won’t see the total solar eclipse that will grace the western and northern reaches of the state in less than two weeks, but that doesn’t mean the partial eclipse they’ll see hasn’t created a buzz in these parts.

“As evidenced by the number of people attending (the planetarium’s) totality show and the number of people purchasing eclipse glasses, there’s a constant flow of people, indicative of widespread interest in this event,” Edward Herrick-Gleason, director of the Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine, said Tuesday.

A number of events are planned in the area to gear up for the eclipse and to experience it.

The moon will cross the path of the sun on April 8 and the eclipse will enter Maine at roughly 2:17 p.m., Herrick-Gleason said. It will travel from southwest to northeast with totality beginning around 3:31 p.m. on a 127-mile-wide path from Dover-Foxcroft up to Caribou, and from Jackman across to Houlton.

“There’s a profound difference between the total solar eclipse and even a high-partial one as we’ll have in southern Maine,” Herrick-Gleason said. “But, even if you are in Southern Maine, you’ll still see something that will be quite compelling.”

Herrick-Gleason advises viewers, whether in the path of totality or not, to wear eclipse glasses.


“If you’re in the totality path, you may safely remove your glasses during totality when the moon is entirely covering the sun, provided you put the glasses back on before totality ends,” he said, but they should remain on the entire time if the viewer is not in the line of totality. That’s because radiation from the sun can damage one’s eyes, and during a solar eclipse it could do so without any warning.

“If we went outside to look at the sun (on an ordinary day), our eyes would not allow us to focus on it; it’s a very effective self-defense mechanism that we have,” Herrick-Gleason explained. “When you have the moon blocking most of the sun, that self-defense mechanism is no longer operable and it won’t be painful to look at the sun – that’s what makes it dangerous.”

Herrick-Gleason encourages Mainers to enjoy the April event because the next total solar eclipse won’t cross Maine until May 1, 2079.

However, a partial eclipse is on the horizon.

“Next year, on March 29, there’s going to be another partial eclipse,” Herrick-Gleason said. “So, don’t dispense of your eclipse glasses quite yet.”

Here are some ways to prepare for and view the eclipse in southern Maine:



The Portland Public Library will host a talk on Wednesday, April 3, by Dr. Felicia McBride from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Bowdoin College. McBride will discuss the coming solar eclipse and how eclipses help scientists learn about our planet, solar system and the universe. The talk will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rines Auditorium.

The Maine Mariners game on Friday, April 5, will be the team’s “Solar Eclipse Night.” It will also be the Mariners’ regularly-scheduled “Climate and Sustainability Night” and the team will recognize companies throughout New England working toward a greener future. Eclipse glasses will be given out to the first 1,000 fans to enter Cross Insurance Arena. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.


On Monday, April 1, Merrill Memorial Library in Yarmouth will host an eclipse craft program from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

On April 8, the public can join library staff at the Yarmouth High School fields to view the near-total solar eclipse from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Eclipse glasses, pin-hole projectors and other gear and activities will be available.



The Walker Memorial Library will host an eclipse viewing at the Westbrook Common on April 8 from 3 to 4 p.m.


Residents can visit the youth services or circulation desk at Baxter Memorial Library throughout the week to pick up some solar eclipse glasses. The library will have some glasses set aside for a solar eclipse viewing on the library lawn on April 8 at 3 p.m.

Cape Elizabeth

On Friday, March 29, Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth will host a “DIY Eclipse T-Shirt” event beginning at 3:30 p.m. Participants must be 11 years or older in age. To register, go to thomasmeoriallibrary.org.



The Scarborough Public Library will host “Eclipsed Wonder: A Journey Through Solar Phenomena” on Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. The event will feature a presentation by Herrick-Gleason. Those who cannot attend the event at the library can tune in via Zoom. Registration is required. To register, go to scarboroughlibrary.org.


The Parks and Recreation Department and Windham Public Library will host Total Eclipse at the Park from 2-4 p.m. April 8 at Windham Community Park, 373 Gray Road. The event will include outdoor games and activities. The library has a limited supply of free eclipse glasses to hand out in advance to cardholders. Seniors who need transportation to the event should contact the parks department.


Skiers and snowboarders can take to Bridgton on April 8 to view the eclipse from the summit of Pleasant Mountain. Lift tickets on April 8 will be $24 and the mountain will provide eclipse-viewing glasses. For more information and lift tickets, go to pleasantmountain.com.


On April 2, the Freeport Community Library will host a “2024 Solar Eclipse Talk,” presented by NASA Solar Ambassador Jon Wallace. The talk will take place at the library at 10 Library Drive at 5:30 p.m.

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