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USM's Gleason preparing for eclipse on Aug. 21

Edward Gleason, manager of USM's Southworth Planetarium

When the moon begins to move in front of the sun on Aug. 21, Edward Gleason will be watching the eclipse.

And he'll be comforted.

"Celestial forces are still in charge," said Gleason, an astronomer and the manager of USM's Southworth Planetarium. "These are worlds abiding by the laws of physics and we're just seeing an example of precise alignment."

Here in Maine, the event will begin at 1:29 p.m., peak at 2:45 p.m and end at 3:57 p.m. At that peak, 58.8 percent of the sun (as seen here in Maine) will be blocked by the moon.

Gleason encourages watchers to be careful, wear reliable sun-blocking glasses or watch the event some other way. He'll be hosting a crowd at the planetarium, located in the Portland Campus science complex. And many astronomy institutions, including NASA, will host live feeds from several locations.

The full eclipse will be experienced by people along the "totality path," stretching from the Pacific Northwest to South Carolina, Gleason said.

"This is perhaps the most hyped celestial event in recent memory," he said.

We'll see a dimming of the light, he said. Along the totality path, watchers will see planets and stars.

"It will still be quite fascinating," he said.

And it may work as a prelude to Maine's big show. In April 2024, western Maine will be in the totality path for an eclipse.

For more information, see USM eclipse site here.

Read the Portland Press Herald coverage here.

Read the Forecaster story here.

See the Boston Globe story here.

See the Bangor Daily News story here.