• Areas to hold viewing
• CDOT makes measures for weekend
• Eclipse happens Monday morning
Residents of Montrose will able to see an 85 percent partial eclipse Monday morning, but looking at it may be an issue.
According to Nick Myers, astronomy coordinator for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, a shortage of solar glasses and predicted cloudy weather have been causes for concern for viewing the partial eclipse.
Viewers may be left without glasses at the time of the eclipse.
“I know a lot of local retailers have been selling them, but they are all gone now,” Myers said.
Tania Hajjar, a reference librarian for the Montrose Regional Library, said the staff stockpiled glasses for its solar eclipse program for children and their families. She said the glasses sold out quickly.
Although the glasses aren’t in stock anymore, Hajjar said the library filed a few away for the viewing.
Having solar glasses to see the partial eclipse is imperative, according to John Pool, secretary for the Black Canyon Astronomical Society.
“Definitely do not look at the sun under any circumstances unless it is completely eclipsed and you are wearing certified sun viewing glasses,” Pool said. “You basically cut out 99.99 percent of the sun’s light and you have to be protected from the infrared, otherwise you will likely damage your eyes.”
Because eyeglasses are in short supply, Myers said the BCG will have solar glasses on hand at a viewing party at the Elk Creek Campground Amphitheater. The rangers have worked to fix the eyewear issue, but they can’t solve the weather.
“Astronomers are watching really closely at the cloud forecast for next weekend,” Myers said. “High clouds are in the forecast.”
These issues can be tough for residents to see the partial eclipse, but Myers said he believes when it occurs, it will be enjoyable.
“It’s still an awesome experience for sure,” Myers said. “But because totality is taking place only a few hundred miles away, a lot of our local astronomers are heading north.”
It’s not only astronomers who are going north to see a full eclipse. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, it has plans for people traveling to Wyoming or Nebraska to see the totality.
The plans include stopping permits for all oversize or overweight vehicles through Aug. 23, north of Colorado Highway 50, and suspending construction on all projects until Tuesday morning.
Other plans include increasing CDOT Safety Patrol along North I-25 from one unit to four, staging state patrol and emergency responders along major passages for traffic accidents and monitoring incidents using traffic cameras.
“This has the potential to be a major traffic event. Both given the heavy traffic volume, as well as disruptions due to the eclipse,” Shailen Bhatt, CDOT executive director, said in a release. “We are asking the driving public to plan ahead, be safe and be patient.”
Because of this issue, Pool noted he won’t travel north to see the full one.
“I’ll watch it, but I’m not going to be driving anywhere close to the path primarily because of the traffic congestion,” Pool said.
Although people are heading to Wyoming to Nebraska to look at the eclipse, Myers said looking at a partial one is also a terrific time.
“It’s a pretty spectacular experience even seeing an 85 percent full totality, so it will be quite noticeable,” Myers said. “This is a special event that folks at the time should look up for.”
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ education/sports reporter. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.