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When eclipse hits NJ, weird things likely to happen

posted Aug 9, 2017, 5:46 AM by Anthony Pisano
Check out the article posted in the Daily Record

Whenever a solar eclipse occurs, weird things seem to happen.

“It’s going to be very interesting, even here in Jersey, with only 73 percent of the sun covered. It’s going to get cooler outside. It’s definitely going to get darker outside, almost like dusk or sunset around here. And it’s going to be kind of weird,” said Anthony Pisano, 46, president of the Morris Museum Astronomical Society.

“I remember back in the late 1970s, being in school. We didn’t get a total solar eclipse but we got something similar to this. The dummies at the school, because they didn’t know any better, they closed windows even though it wasn’t raining outside. And yes, it got dark but it didn’t get pitch black outside. There’s a lot of things you can read about online, stuff you notice during an eclipse. If you’re in the farmlands and an eclipse happens, the animals don’t know what’s going on and they start heading back to the barn. They think it’s time to go to sleep. The birds stop singing so a lot of weird things happen when an eclipse takes place.”

To help anyone not planning to travel view the solar eclipse safely, the Morris Museum is hosting “The Great American Solar Eclipse – A Viewing” from 1-4 p.m. on Aug. 21 in the museum’s Bickford Theatre. The special free event will feature a live viewing via a NASA feed for one of the largest astronomical events in many decades. The museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown.

“We’re going to have some solar telescopes set up so that you can actually look at the sun safely and we’re going to have some special viewing glasses for people to take a look at the sun. It’s not like you have to there at exactly one o’clock or you have to be there at exactly three o’clock. You can come and go. We’re going to have live feeds from NASA with all the different telescopes from across the United States that we’ll be showing in the theater,” said Pisano, a resident of Boonton Twp.

The eclipse will begin at 1:22:02 p.m. with 73 percent maximum coverage at 2:44:28 p.m. and will end at 4:00:59 p.m. For more information, call 973-971-3700 or email to To learn more about the Morris Museum Astronomical Society, call 973-637-0178 or visit

“I think from approximately 12:30, 12:45-ish when you actually start noticing something till about 4 o’clock. The actual eclipse path goes from Oregon all the way through to South Carolina. Depending how far north or south of that eclipse line is how much of the percentage of the sun is going to be covered. You won’t see the total eclipse here in New Jersey. It will almost look like somebody took a bite out of a big round cookie.”

Pisano strongly stresses never looking directly at the sun except during a total solar eclipse using ISO-certified glasses. Most of the libraries in Morris County have started giving them free to visitors and the Morris Museum’s gift store is also selling them.

“Anything beyond that you can do damage to your eyes. There are eclipse glasses that are available from Amazon and other places but you have to make sure they are ISO-certified because there’s a lot of garbage floating around out there with people saying you can look at the sun with these and you’ll wind up hurting your eyes.”

When the museum hosted a special viewing for the public of the Transit of Venus in 2012, more than 150 people showed up on a cloudy day. Pisano thinks if the day brings bright blue skies, the museum could see more than 500 visitors for this latest solar eclipse.

“Myself, I’m either heading to South Carolina or out to Nebraska. This eclipse happens to be passing over Nashville so you can’t get near Nashville and I believe it’s passing over Minneapolis-St. Paul. But when I looked at a map, I said, you know what, it’s flat, there’s nobody out there, so maybe driving out a few days before to Nebraska will be the best bet.”

North American stargazers don’t have to wait long for the next total solar eclipse which will pass over Mexico, the United States and Canada on April 8, 2024. Totality first touches Mexico, enters the United States at Texas and cuts a diagonal to Maine before heading to the Canadian maritime provinces.

“We’ve waited 99 years for this one so the one in 2024 is literally around the corner. That’s going to be the big one for the Northeast, you can go right over the border to Pennsylvania,” said Pisano, who received his first telescope from his dad in 1986 for the passing of Halley’s Comet.