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Hochul announces eclipse events & activities at state parks


Wed, Mar 6th 2024 07:15 pm

Leading up to April 8, events across state will invite visitors to learn about eclipse and ways to stay safe while viewing it

√ Variety of viewing events to be held inside and outside of path of totality

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced New York state parks and historic sites will host a range of events and activities to celebrate the rare total solar eclipse passing through Western New York, the Finger Lakes and the Adirondacks on April 8.

Her team said, “This cosmic event happens once every 400 years in the same location. Events will be held both where the eclipse will be fully visible across a narrow route, referred to as the path of totality, and where visitors can experience a rare partial eclipse throughout the rest of the state.”

Hochul said, “While we prepare to welcome the public to our beautiful state parks for the total solar eclipse in New York state, we’re also offering dozens of events and activities leading up to this extraordinary event. Our top priority is ensuring that New Yorkers and visitors can safely witness this generational spectacle, and I encourage everyone to keep safety in mind so that all can savor this experience in our state.”

Beginning Thursday, March 7, events at many state parks and historic sites will facilitate hands-on craft projects such as do-it-yourself pinhole eclipse viewer construction as well as offer educational programs steeped in history and solar system science.

On April 8, numerous eclipse-viewing gatherings are scheduled, often featuring eclipse-themed activities, discussions and trivia, food or snacks, and distribution of solar viewing glasses to prevent severe eye injuries. People who would like to register for the dozens of events and activities hosted at New York state parks and historic sites – both day-of and leading up to the eclipse – may do so through the OPRHP event calendar and eclipse website.

The governor previously announced that, beginning April 4, scientists, subject matter experts and astronauts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be providing programming and exhibits at Niagara Falls State Park as well as throughout the city at locations including the Niagara Falls Public Libraries, The Underground Railroad Heritage Center, The Aquarium of Niagara, the New York Power Authority Power Vista and the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.

All events will be free and open to the public (reservations may be required based on space availability) throughout the entire weekend leading up to the April 8 event. NASA will be hosting similar events in several other cities throughout the path of totality. A full list of events can be found at the 2024 Solar Eclipse | Niagara Falls USA website.

New York State Parks Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons said, “In anticipation of the inspiring cosmic display on April 8, New York State Parks is proud to offer a wide array of events and activities for people to learn about the total solar eclipse. Our environmental educators and park personnel are prepared to welcome visitors from near and far, ensuring that this experience is both safe and memorable for all ages.”

Director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Janet Petro said, “NASA is thrilled to be in a place as magical as Niagara Falls for this awe-inspiring event. Besides being beautiful to witness, this total solar eclipse also will allow scientists a rare opportunity to study the sun’s corona, expanding our knowledge of the Sun-Earth connection and its impact on our planet. I hope you’ll grab your eclipse glasses – and a few friends – and join us for some of the events we have planned to celebrate this unique occasion.”

Eclipse in New York State

Hochul’s team said, :During the afternoon of April 8, a total eclipse will encompass the western and northern parts of New York state. In less than 15 minutes within a 3:15 to 3:30 p.m. window, the moon will pass between the earth and sun, turning day into night for 1½ minutes to 3½ minutes. The roughly 100-mile-wide path of totality will enter in the southwestern part of the state at just after 3:15 p.m., and will depart northern New York just before 3:30 p.m. Cities and towns within this path include Jamestown, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown, Old Forge, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh. The entire event will last for up to 2½ hours, marking the time the sun is first obstructed to the last moments when the moon’s shadow is cast.

“For other areas of the state that are outside the path, there will still be quite a celestial spectacle. The minimum coverage in the state will be on Long Island, with the sun being shadowed at 88% there. New York City will see 89% coverage with 96% in the Capital Region.

“The next total solar eclipse that will be visible from the contiguous U.S. will not be until August 2044.”

Public Safety During the Eclipse

Hochul’s team said, “Except during the brief total phase of a total solar eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun's bright face, it is unsafe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing. According to NASA, viewing any part of the sun through a camera lens, binoculars or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury. The partial phases of the solar eclipse can only be safely observed directly with specialized solar viewing glasses (‘eclipse glasses’) or a handheld solar viewer. Regular sunglasses, polarized or otherwise, are not a safe replacement for solar eclipse glasses.”

Hochul strongly encourages eclipse enthusiasts to partake in this once-in-a-generation event safely by:

√ Protecting your eyes with specialized solar viewing glasses;

√ Checking traffic before heading out for this event as higher volumes of visitors are anticipated;

√ Preparing for the weather; and

√ Bringing the proper gear and watching out for ticks if camping.

Hochul’s team said, “For the last 17 months, an interagency task force, comprised of nearly two-dozen state agencies and authorities, has been collaborating on plans to ensure a safe and memorable viewing experience for New York state’s residents and visitors. It is focused on building awareness of the state as a prime location to experience the eclipse by gathering important safety and preparedness information, amplifying and supporting region-specific viewing activities, and maintaining regular communication with local governments and municipalities, especially those within the path of totality. New York’s public safety efforts align with the state’s normal jurisdictional role over state parks and state roads, and support to local governments in their planning and decision making in accordance with their own codes, laws and needs as this exciting event approaches.

“Public safety challenges for such an event include traffic management, communications capabilities and public health and safety. State, county and local public safety and emergency management efforts have been and will continue to be tailored to the anticipated needs from an influx of those who come to view the eclipse from both inside and outside the state.”

Events at state parks and historic sites within the path of totality include:

•Allegany State Park

Eclipse viewing event (multiple programs)

Monday, April 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•Buffalo Harbor State Park

“Totality On the Centerline”

Monday, April 8, noon to 4:30 p.m.

•Knox Farm State Park

“Tiny Tots – Space Explorers”

Thursday, April 4, 10-11 a.m.

•Lake Erie State Park

Eclipse viewing and crafts

Monday, April 8, 1-4 p.m.

•Long Point State Park on Lake Chautauqua

Eclipse viewing and crafts

Monday, April 8, 1-4 p.m.

•Midway State Park

Eclipse viewing event

Monday, April 8, 1-4 p.m.

•Niagara Falls State Park

DIY pinhole solar eclipse projectors

Thursday, March 7, 6-7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 23, 3:30-5 p.m.

TSE Trivia

Friday, March 8, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“When the Eclipse Was Here Last”

Friday, March 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“Stroll at the Falls”

Friday, April 5, 1-2:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 6, 1-2:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 7, 1-2:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.

“Totality at the Falls”

Monday, April 8, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

•Woodlawn Beach State Park

“Fun in the Sun” crafts

Sunday, April 7 10-11 a.m.

For the entire lineup of events hosted at state parks along the path of totality, visit the events calendar. For more information about the total eclipse in New York, visit https://www.iloveny.com/events/eclipse-2024/.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses and boat launches, which saw a record 84 million visits in 2023. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer app or call 518-474-0456. Join in celebrating the centennial throughout 2024, and connect on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and the OPRHP blog.

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