Not since the Elvis impersonator performed has an event at the Ormond Beach Regional Library drawn such a crowd.
The first indication that something special was going on in the library on Monday was the fact there were no available spots in the parking lot. Inside the library auditorium more than 160 people filled the chairs, stood, and sat on the floor, for an hour long presentation.
The draw was Dr. Jason Aufdenberg from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. An associate professor in astronomy and physics, Aufdenberg was giving his second discussion of the day on the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. His first was at the Daytona Beach Library at City Island.
After the hour-long presentation at the Ormond Regional Library, library director Suzan Howes said the last event that she recalled that drew such a big crowd was when the Elvis impersonator performed.
Avi Jack came to the event with his mom Lauren as part of his homeschool studies. The library had a limited number of ISO certified glasses to give away and the mother and son were lucky enough to get two for their Monday viewing along the shore of the Halifax River. There were 150 glasses available by ticket at the library. All were given out.
The specialized glasses are hard to find. Local stores that were selling them are sold out. Amazon reportedly had to recall counterfeit glasses that were sold on its site.
How to watch the solar eclipse safely was a big part of Aufdenberg’s presentation. He stressed the importance of wearing proper eye protection -- sunglasses are not strong enough -- to watch as the moon crosses the sun beginning at about 1:20 p.m. on Monday.
“You can go on Google to find different ways to see it safely,” Afudenberg said.
Methods include colanders, cereal boxes, and even through trees onto a solid surface.
The question was asked if a cell phone could be used to photo the event. While taping the special glasses over the view finder could work, Aufdenberg said the final result would be very small image.
It will take about three hours for the entire eclipse and the Ormond Beach area is expected to experience about an 88% coverage. The closest place to view the full solar eclipse in Columbia, South Carolina. Those interested in seeing a total solar eclipse without leaving the area will have to wait until 2045 when the path will travel right over Daytona Beach.
When Aufdenberg mentioned the eclipse of 1939, Bobbie Bromfield whispered to her daughter Ellen Bohde, “I saw that one.”
The mother and daughter said they will witness this eclipse from their Ormond Beach driveway.
Afternoon storms could wash out the event for local viewing, but NASA Television will air a four-hour show, Eclipse Across America, with unprecedented live video of the celestial event on social media.