Here's everything you need to know about the eclipse in Maine

Solar Eclipse (MGN)

STATEWIDE (WGME/SBG) -- August 21st will showcase the first total solar eclipse in the United States in almost four decades. It will be the first total solar eclipse that can be seen on both coasts since 1918. Ron Burgundy might say “It’s kind of a big deal.”

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. The moon casts a shadow on earth obscuring the sun.

Unfortunately the State of Maine will not fall in the path of totality, or umbra this time around. For that, you’ll have to take a long drive.

Maine will however be treated to a partial solar eclipse, which means the sun will only partially be obstructed by the moon. Depending on where you are, the state can expect between 44% and 58% coverage.

The action will get going around 1 p.m. on August 21 and extend through about 4 p.m. The best viewing will be around 2:45 p.m. (weather permitting).

Maine will experience a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Mark your calendars! Lets hope we don’t have any rain (or snow) that day.

As you might imagine, it’s not recommended to look directly at the sun during the eclipse, or any time for that matter. There are some visual aids and viewing methods you might find useful.

Eclipse Glasses

This is the preferred easiest method of viewing the eclipse. The Portland Public Library is passing out free glasses.

Welding Glasses

Only glasses with a shade of 12 or higher are safe (most welding shields/glasses have a shade lower than 12)

Pinhole Projectors

NASA offers printable 2D and 3D templates for pinhole projectors on their website. The projectors are offered in the shape of states as well.

Pinhole projectors will cast a circle of light on to the ground and as the moon moves to cover the sun you will see a representation of the eclipse on the ground.

If you find yourself without a pinhole projector, you can use your hands to create a pinhole projection onto the ground.

“For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.” NASA states.

Telescope Projection Method

To aim the instrument safely, look at its shadow on a white card as you swing the tube around. (Don’t use your finderscope — make sure it’s capped at the front end or removed completely.)

When the scope’s shadow nears its minimum size, a brilliant beam of sunlight will burst out of the eyepiece and fall onto the card.

Turn the focus knob and experiment with the card’s distance behind the eyepiece until the Sun’s disk is sharp and as big as you want. Look for sunspots!

Telescope, Camera or Binoculars

The American Astronomical Society offers guides for safely taking pictures during the eclipse and for property outfitting your home telescope with the right solar filter.

The AAS breaks the solar filters into three types: metal on glass, aluminized polyester film or Mylar and black polymer. These filters can have different effects on the image, making the sun appear white, yellow orange or with a blue tint.

The organization even offers a buyer’s guide if you are not sure where to make your purchase.

If you plan on taking pictures of the eclipse, the American Astronomical Society’s guide is tailored to users of digital cameras.

We’re less than two weeks out, and hoping for great weather for viewing the eclipse.

You can get updated weather forecasts at