On the morning of Monday, Aug. 21, the moon will find itself positioned between the Earth and the sun, temporarily blocking out the glowing disc either totally or partially, depending on where the event is being viewed in the continental United States. Eclipses occur every 12 to 18 months, but this is the first time a total eclipse has been visible in the United States since February 1979. People are very excited about this one; they've been buying up eclipse-viewing glasses on Amazon (even fake ones) and booking trips to locales along the diagonal line between Oregon and North Carolina where the total eclipse will be viewable for a couple of minutes or so, aka the ominous-sounding path of totality.
Down here in L.A., we'll only see 70 percent blockage of the sun's surface, but before you hop a plane to Carbondale, Illinois — where the sun will be completely blocked for the longest duration and where you can bet junkola motels are gouging the shit out of visiting eclipse gazers — there are a handful of events where you can marvel at what's still a pretty cool event. (In the meantime, Vox created an interactive graphic that demonstrates what the eclipse will look like from your ZIP code.) The next partial solar eclipse viewable from Southern California isn't until October 2023, and with the way things are going here on planet Earth, you might just want to g'head and get your celestial-body-viewing jollies now.
Here are some places to watch and viewing-related activities …
Naturally, Griffith Observatory is hosting a viewing event, featuring telescope viewing from the lawn, sidewalks and on the coelostat (solar telescope) in the Hall of the Sky (note: personal telescopes aren't allowed). Crowds will likely be huge(r than usual), so they're recommending people take the DASH bus from the Vermont/Sunset Red Line station. 2800 E. Observatory Road, Griffith Park; Mon., Aug. 21, 9 a.m.-noon; free. griffithobservatory.org.
Outdoorsy meetup Mountain Chicks is hosting a solar eclipse hike from the Fern Dell Nature Trail up to the Observatory, a 2.5-mile round trip. Bring snacks, water, sunscreen and a pair of viewing glasses.
Meets at Fern Dell and Black Oak drives, Los Feliz; Mon., Aug. 21, 9 a.m.-noon; free. eventbrite.com/e/mountain-chicks-griffith-park-solar-eclipse-hike-tickets-36847631257?aff=es2.
California Science Center
Besides a viewing event on Monday (near the museum's parking structure), the CSC is hosting a two-day Solar Eclipse Festival on Saturday and Sunday, featuring hands-on activities and info about how to prepare to safely view the eclipse come Monday. 700 Exposition Park Drive, Exposition Park (walkway near the parking structure); Sat.-Sun., Aug. 19-20, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; eclipse viewing, Mon., Aug. 21, 9 a.m.-11:45 a.m.; free.
Kidspace Children's Museum
Staff from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be on hand to demonstrate how to make a pinhole camera (for safe viewing) and the museum's handing out viewing glasses with the price of admission. If the 70 percent eclipse isn't doing it for you, the museum will be screening NASA's livestream of the eclipse occurring across the United States. 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., Aug. 21, 9 a.m.-noon; $13. kidspacemuseum.org.
Glendale Community College
Glendale Community College astronomy professors and volunteers from NASA will be around to answer questions at this free viewing event at the college's planetarium. They're also giving away free viewing glasses, or you can learn to make your own viewer. 1500 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale; Mon., Aug. 21, 9 a.m.-noon; free. informal.jpl.nasa.gov/museum/content/solar-eclipse-viewing-0.
On the college's Beckman Lawn, Caltech is hosting a viewing party with solar telescopes, eclipse glasses and a livestream from the path of totality. Astrophysicists will answer questions and the event is free and open to everyone, kids included. Beckman Lawn, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., Aug. 21, 9:30 a.m.; free. caltech.edu/content/solar-eclipse-viewing-party.
Your local public library
In the days leading up to (and including) the day of the eclipse, County of L.A. and LAPL branches are hosting a slew of events, from lawn viewings to an astronomy workshop at the Malibu branch to a galaxy ring-making workshop at the Lancaster branch. Check out the schedules of events here: colapublib.org/eclipse and lapl.org.