Cedar Amateur Astronomers working to give people a good glimpse of the solar eclipse

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Volunteer group ‘Cedar Amateur Astronomers’ are hosting an event at the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center at 1365 Ivanhoe Road in Ely for people to watch the solar eclipse.

They will have a solar filtered telescope that people can take turns looking through. Member John Leeson says of the telescope, "It cuts out the vast majority like 99.99 percent of the brightness of the sun."

They also will hand out glasses that block ultra violet light. That's important, because looking directly at the eclipse could burn your eyes and make you blind.

Leeson says "These are certified for looking at the sun. Don't use something like welding googles because welding goggles don't protect against ultra violet."

For those who don't want to look into the sun, they will have have tools to track the eclipse. One of the tools is the sun spotter. It projects an image of the sun (see picture). A person can aim the sun spotter at the sun, and once it’s lined up, a person can see the image of the moon blocking the sun through the device.

Leeson says the event will be a good learning experience for people to learn about astronomy. The solar eclipse will occur on August 21st. The viewing party for the observatory will be from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

People can also watch the eclipse at the Cedar Rapids Library. They will have a solar filtered telescope setup on their third floor garden.