Northeast Wisconsin prepares for upcoming solar eclipse

Brian Welch, a UW-Green Bay physics professor, as he follows the path of the eclipse. (WLUK/Mark Leland)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) - It's coming! And since it happens only once every 18 years and in different parts of the globe, the total eclipse of the sun is not to be missed.

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“It's a once in a lifetime chance to photograph an event like this,” said Dan Moore, a National Parks photographer who works at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He plans to head to Wyoming for his perfect shot in the Grand Teton Mountains on Aug. 21.

“It's supposed to be the most crowded day of history of the park,” said Moore.

Experts predict more than 7 million people will hit the road to line up along the path of the total eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina. Another 12 million live in the path in the United States. And their window of opportunity will be around two minutes.

“We've always been told we can’t look at the sun from a young age but this is the one time you're at least allowed to look in the direction of the sun when it's blocked,” said UWGB physics professor Brian Welsch.

Welsch will head to Idaho, since in Green Bay only about 80 percent of the sun will be covered. But don't despair, he said. It will still be a sight to see. He recommends eclipse-approved glasses and lens for your camera. Or there's the old-school method of viewing its reflection from a pinhole of light.

“That's so cool you can see all the details of light,” said one guest at Welsch’s lecture on the eclipse at UWGB as she tested out the method using a cardboard box and light.

Thousands of public libraries like the Muehl Library here in Seymour is taking advantage of this educational opportunity. They're holding viewing parties, having special events and even giving away free glasses to view the eclipse.

Libraries participating in eclipse education

“We can give info to people what it is and mostly to kids who are excited and never experienced anything like this,” said Kaarina Menting at Muehl Library.

Looking directly into the sun can cause damage to your retina. Moore says be safe and take in the overall experience.

“The wind dies down, and animals get quiet and stars come out and to just all of the sudden have someone turn off the light in the middle of the day, it's supposed to be a really special experience,” said Moore.

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