At times of great historical and social importance, it’s helpful to reflect on the words of Bruce Springsteen: “Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun/Oh but Mama, that’s where the fun is.”

There will be sun-related fun all over Maine on April 8, when a solar eclipse passes through the state. The most fun to be had will be within a wide swath through the northern half of the state, where there will be a total eclipse, meaning the sun will be completely blocked by the moon for a few minutes.

And that means, contrary to the lyrics of “Blinded by the Light,” it will be safe to look at the sun. At least for the two or three minutes it’s totally blocked, if you’re within the path of totality. The rest of the time you’re looking at the eclipse — and for the entire time in many parts of Maine – you will need NASA-approved glasses to safely do it.

Here are some suggestions for places to see the total eclipse in Maine, related activities and ways to enjoy the partial eclipse wherever you are. The next total solar eclipse in Maine is predicted for 2079. So, for many of us, it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


You will need protective glasses to safely view the eclipse anywhere in Maine and will need to keep them on at all times in southern Maine and other areas where the sun will never be completely blocked. It will still be an impressive sight, with about 94% of the sun obscured by the moon, said Edward Herrick-Gleason, director of the Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. When the sun is bright, our eyes don’t allow us to focus on it. But with a partial eclipse, the brightness is diminished and we don’t have that defense mechanism to stop us from looking right at the sun and causing damage to our eyes, Gleason said. Hence, the need for glasses.


NASA says you need ones that are rated ISO 12312-2. That’s thousands of times darker than standard sunglasses. Walmart has NASA-approved eclipse glasses for sale online, including a pack of two for $10.25. Amazon has several multi-packs available, from about $8 to $20. You can also get a pair for $2 from the Southworth Planetarium in Portland. You can visit the planetarium gift shop at 70 Falmouth St., call 207-780-4249 or email

West Paris Library Director Brenda Lynn Gould shows off a pair of solar eclipse glasses at the West Paris annual town meeting in early March. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal


If you are thinking of driving to a part of Maine where the total eclipse will be visible, you might want to check out one of the various maps showing the “path of totality,” including where and when it passes over Maine. One very cool animated map on the University of Maine’s Versant Power Astronomy Center eclipse website shows the path of totality sweeping across Maine. The southern most border of the path stretches from about Rangeley to Topsfield, while the path’s northern boundary extends from rural areas north of Jackman to Caribou.

The best places to see the the total eclipse, according the website, are places on the path’s center line, including Jackman, Rockwood, Patten and Houlton. The map shows the eclipse beginning around 3:28 p.m. in Rangeley and Jackman and slightly later east of there. The duration will be more than three minutes along the center line and about two minutes along the northern and southern limits of the path.

The astronomy center’s website also has videos, links and information from NASA and other sources. There’s even a page where you can plug in the name of your town and see when the eclipse – partial or total – will happen and the time of maximum coverage. Go to


People in southern Maine who’d like to see the total eclipse, but don’t want to drive to Aroostook County, can watch live coverage of it at the Southworth Planetarium in Portland. Video of the eclipse as seen from around the world and the country will be shown – on the planetarium’s Star Dome, which is about 30 feet in diameter – from around 11:30 a.m. until about 5 p.m. April 8. More details about the eclipse showings will be posted on the planetarium’s website closer to the date.


But you can also prepare yourself for the eclipse with daily shows at the planetarium called “Totality!” The one-hour shows are running once or twice daily from now through Sunday. The show explains how eclipses happen, why they are so rare and what you can expect to see. Tickets are $7 to $8. For more information, go to

Pineland Farms in New Gloucester is hosting an afternoon of (partial) eclipse viewing at its Outdoor Center. There will be age-appropriate activities for kids as the lights dim, with goody bags and eclipses glasses. Admission is $7. More info at

Total Solar Eclipse

The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse in 2017 in Kentucky. Some people in Maine will get a similar sight April 8. Timothy D. Easley / AP file photo


If you do want to see the total eclipse in person, why not consider a “Raycation” – you know, like a staycation in Maine but for the expressed purpose of seeing the sun blocked out by the moon. Some communities in Aroostook County have been planning to welcome visitors for the event for years.

In Jackman, the Versant Power Astronomy Center and Jordan Planetarium staff will be observing the eclipse with the public at the Jackman town offices. In Lincoln, the Lincoln Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce is hosting a viewing party with an artisans market, kids crafts, hot chocolate, goat petting, ATV rides and more. For a list of eclipse events in other communities and accommodations, go to

Picturesque Jackman is one of the places where a view of the total eclipse should be spectacular. Carey Kish photo

In Houlton, right in the center of the path of totality, there’s the Maine Eclipse Festival Weekend, April 5-8, featuring a craft fair, a solar system bus tour, a show by Maine humorist Tim Sample and designated “star parks” all over town for viewing, activities and entertainment. For more information, go to

In Rangeley, there are eclipse-themed talks, trivia nights, films and other events starting a week before the eclipse. On April 8, there will be a Moonshadow Morning Community Pancake Breakfast, a livestream of the eclipse at the Lakeside Theater, a viewing party at Bald Mountain Camps, a Lights Out Party at Saddleback ski area and Happy Eclipse Day events at the Rangeley Library. For more info on Rangeley events, go to

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