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Great American Eclipse: Viewing party at Cullman Electric Co-op at noon

CLICK HERE to see what the eclipse will look like in your zip code. (Time Magazine)

CULLMAN - The day is finally here. The “Great American Eclipse” is mere hours away, set to darken the Cullman sky around 1:30 p.m. One option for viewing the historic event starts at noon; that’s when the Cullman Electric Cooperative's solar eclipse viewing party kicks off at the co-op’s main office at 1749 Eva Road NE, Cullman.

The event, which started out as just a social media post about safety while viewing the eclipse, will be a gathering to share the rare occurrence of a total solar eclipse with the community.

“The eclipse will begin for us in Cullman around 1:30,” said Bonnie Baty with the Cullman Electric Cooperative. “But we will begin around noon with a presentation on solar power and some information about the sun.”

Then the children will get a chance to build a solar eclipse viewer during a hands-on activity. The first 100 people to arrive to the event will receive free safety glasses, which allow the viewer to securely observe the sun.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lunches and picnic on the lawn of the agency.

Said Baty, “The eclipse will be going on well after 1:30, and people are welcome to stay as long as they want.”

The training room at the office building will be open for those who are averse to the heat.

The eclipse will begin almost exactly at noon, central time, when the first sliver of moon shadow becomes visible on the sun.  It will reach maximum coverage for north Alabama viewers around 1:30 p.m., when about 95 percent of the sun will be covered, and will conclude about 2:57 p.m.  Around Cullman, the midday sky will remain blue, but may darken to an early dawn/dusky hue during the height of the eclipse.

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Image credit: Rick Fienberg, TravelQuest International and Wilderness Travel