If you want the fullest possible Maine eclipse experience, be ready at exactly 2:45:53 p.m. Monday. That’s when the U.S. Naval Observatory predicts the maximum coverage of the sun by the moon visible in Portland, about 58 percent. It’ll only last a minute.

The farther north you go in Maine, the smaller the eclipse will be, with less than 50 percent coverage north of Caribou. And full coverage will be a few minutes later as you go north. To see what time the eclipse will be at its fullest point over your town, check the U.S. Naval Observatory’s online tool for calculating eclipse coverage.

Because we’re seeing only a partial eclipse here, there won’t be much difference in the amount of daylight we get, says Shawn Laatsch, director of the Emera Astronomy Center at the University of Maine in Orono. In states experiencing a total eclipse Monday, it will look like twilight or dawn.

Of course, everything depends on clear skies. So far, the forecast for Monday calls for clear skies.

No sun is safe to stare at, ever. Radiation from the sun can cause serious eye damage. During a partial eclipse the visible light from the sun might be reduced enough to make it feel less painful, so people might think it’s safe to take a longer look. It’s not.

The only safe way to take more than a quick glance at the sun during an eclipse is to use approved glasses. They should say either “Certified By British Standards Institute” or “ISO 12312.” You’ll know they’re safe if you can’t see anything when you first put them on.

Can you take pictures of an eclipse with your smart phone? NASA’s website says generally it’s safe if you point the camera at the sun only for a moment. The lenses are small and don’t let in enough light to damage your camera. To be safe, you can cover the lens with eclipse glasses or a sheet of solar filter film.

Why use newfangled eclipse glasses when you can go old-school with a pinhole viewer? The simplest one is two sheets of paper, one with a pin-hole to catch the sunlight (held over your shoulder with your back to the sun) and another to project the image onto.

If you have to be indoors Monday afternoon, you can watch a live stream of the total eclipse from above the clouds. A group of 14 University of Maine students will be in Clemson, South Carolina, to help bring live footage of the total eclipse to the world. They are among 55 teams of college students who will launch high-altitude balloons with cameras along the path of totality, to live-stream the action to the world on NASA’s website.

A total solar eclipse will be visible in northern Maine on April 8, 2024. The next time southern Maine will see a total eclipse? 2079.

Has all the eclipse hype got you stressed out? Need to chill out with a glass of wine? You can, and still enjoy eclipse hype at a tasting/viewing party from noon to 4 p.m. at Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery in Union, near Camden. Cocktails, food and glasses available.

The last total eclipse in Maine – on July 20, 1963 – is a crucial plot point in two Stephen King novels: “Gerald’s Game” and “Dolores Claiborne.”

Some free outdoor eclipse-watching events in Maine scheduled for Monday, weather and supply of glasses permitting:
Auburn Public Library, 1:30 to 4 p.m.: Viewing with glasses and activities.
University of Maine, Emera Astronomy Center, Orono, 1 to 4 p.m.: Free viewing with filtered telescopes and glasses.
Monument Square in Portland, 1:30 to 3 p.m.: Viewing with glasses.
(Note: This event has reached capacity and is now closed.) University of Southern Maine, Southworth Planetarium, Portland: 1:45 p.m.: Viewing, including with a telescope, outside the planetarium.

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