Solar eclipse watch parties are planned across the Tampa Bay area – WUSF

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On April 8, North America will experience its first total solar eclipse since 2017.

During this time, the skies will darken — starting along Mexico’s Pacific coast — as the eclipse moves north and east across a swath of the country—known as the path of totality—before exiting on Canada’s Atlantic coast later in the afternoon.

The greater Tampa Bay region is expected to start seeing the effects starting around 1:43 p.m.

The path of totality for the solar eclipse which is coming to the contiguous U.S. on April 8th.

The path of the coming solar eclipse

Folks will be stepping out of workplaces, homes or schools to check it out. And be sure you have special ISO-designated solar eclipse glasses if you plan to look up at the partial eclipse.

Because the risk of permanent eye damage is real.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about solar eclipse glasses before April 8

But if you prefer to catch the eclipse with others — or learn more about what’s happening — several watch parties are planned across the greater Tampa Bay region.

But keep in mind, eye protection is critical, because you can’t see the total eclipse from here. Floridians will see a partial eclipse if the weather cooperates.

Here are a few of the events planned across the area. And just a reminder: NASA says a solar eclipse won’t cross the U.S. again until 2044.

  • Tampa’s MOSI is hosting a solar eclipse celebration outside in its Science Park from 1:30 to 4. Hands-on activities begin at 2 at the Primary Colors Amphitheater. MOSI admission is required, and tickets include a pair of protective solar eclipse glasses and access to the museum’s other exhibits.
  • Great Explorations Children’s Museumin St. Petersburg is celebrating the day with the opportunity to experience the partial eclipse live at Crescent Lake Park at 2:45 p.m., if the weather allows. Admission is free, and a planetarium show at the museum follows.
  • The St. Petersburg College Planetarium is hosting a free public viewing of the eclipse, if the weather is good, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can also gather in the quad area and other locations on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs campus. Get details and event parking info here.
  • Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and the Sugar Sand Festival are holding a viewing party on Clearwater Beach,and offering free eclipse-viewing glasses at the Visit St. Pete/Clearwater booth beginning at noon.
  • Some Hillsborough County Public Libraries are hosting solar eclipse viewing parties. Check here to see if one of them is near you.
  • Safety Harbor Public Library is holding a watch party from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Waterfront Park. Other Pinellas County libraries are also hosting events.
  • Check the St. Petersburg Astronomy Club Facebook page for viewing options.
  • Starkey Ranch Theatre Library Cultural Center and HudsonLibrary in Pasco are welcoming the public for their eclipse viewing events.
  • Bok Gardens in Lake Wales is hosting a Solar Eclipse Viewing Partyatop Iron Mountain at Bok Gardens in Lake Wales. The first 100 visitors get a pair of Lunt eclipse glasses.

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