Chavonne Duteau, left, helps Mary Bielawski of Lewiston on Wednesday morning try out the eclipse glasses at the Lewiston Public Library. The library had 49 pairs of glasses to give away, first-come, first-served. They were gone within 15 minutes of opening. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

When the long-awaited total eclipse of the sun arrives on the afternoon of April 8, it will cut a 100-mile-wide path from Mexico to Canada, including a swath of western and northern Maine.

Nowhere along the entire route is as remote or as cloudy as the Pine Tree State.

“This stretch of eclipse track is perhaps the most prone to cloudy conditions in the entire U.S.,” according to the National Eclipse website.

It adds, “The path travels through the dense western forests of Maine” where there are “endless miles of wilderness in these hinterlands with few signs of civilization.”

Even so, Mainers hold out hope they’ll see something spectacular, as many did during total eclipses in 1932 and 1963.

Since special glasses or hand-held viewers are required to see all but the short period of total blockage of the sun by the moon, those itching for a chance to watch need to get something that allows them to watch without risking blindness from the sun’s rays.


The Lewiston Public Library had 49 pairs of glasses to give away Wednesday, first-come, first-served, to help people view the eclipse safely.

Within 15 minutes of its doors opening, they were all gone.

After trying on the eclipse glasses Wednesday morning she just picked up at the Lewiston Public Library, Mary Bielawski of Lewiston could not see anything. “It’s totally dark,” she said. Her caregiver told her to look up at the lights where she could see the outline of the lights through the glasses at the downtown Lewiston library. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Mary Bielawski, 70, of Lewiston was one of those lucky enough to arrive early to claim a pair.

“I couldn’t miss this,” she said, because she is “into eclipses.”

“It’s into the universe,” Bielawski said, part of “a changing galaxy” that she watches many nights with a pair of binoculars.

“I like to watch the night sky,” she said, especially the craters on the moon.


Bielawski said she hasn’t decided where she’s going to try to watch the solar eclipse.

Many places are going to be busy, she said. “They’re even flying in from California,” she said.

Bielawski tried out the glasses she got at the library.

“You can’t see a thing,” she said. “Definitely can’t see a thing.”

Mickey Doerfler hands out one of the last pair of eclipse glasses Wednesday morning at the lending window at the Lewiston Public Library. The library had 49 pairs of glasses to give away, first-come, first-served, and they were gone within 15 minutes of opening. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


With a little luck, though, she’ll be looking at the sun April 8 through the dark film of the cardboard glasses made by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.


“I’m still excited,” Bielawski said.

The New York Times figured out how cloudy every U.S. location typically is on April 8.

Maine is, well, not exactly a prime candidate for good viewing.

Everywhere along the route in Maine has at least an 80% chance of being cloudy on any given April 8.

That doesn’t mean the sun won’t be out. It’s just that on average, there is only get a sunny April 8 once every five years.

And that’s for the best spots in Maine: Presque Isle and Greenville among them.


In Jackman, on the other end of the spectrum, it’s cloudy 88% of the time on April 8, or sunny only about once a decade on that date.

But the fact that most of the time April 8 is not a good day for viewing anything more than clouds doesn’t mean that this April 8 couldn’t turn out to be a glorious spring day without a cloud in sight.

You never know.

The eclipse in Maine starts about 2 p.m. and will last for about two and a half hours. The peak, which includes a total eclipse in the center path, will take place during a 10-minute period after 3:25 p.m.

The longest any one spot in Maine will experience a total eclipse is three and a half minutes.

The state of Maine has a web page devoted to information and tips about viewing the eclipse. It includes the sage advice not to drive while wearing eclipse glasses.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.