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Solar Eclipse


SMCPS Press Release
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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32178
Dr. Maureen Montgomery, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32135

LEONARDTOWN, MD—A partial solar eclipse will occur on Monday, April 8, 2024, in St. Mary’s County. The eclipse will begin at approximately 2:00 p.m. and end just after 4:30 p.m., with maximum coverage at approximately 3:20 p.m. During the eclipse, there will be 86-88% coverage, during which it will get darker outside, but there will not be total darkness.

All St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) dismiss at some point during the eclipse period.  Families and students should be aware of the following safety tips:

  • Never look directly at the sun, especially during a solar eclipse.  It is dangerous and can cause permanent damage to the eyes.  Do not look at the sun through sunglasses, telescopes, or binoculars.
  • Anyone using special viewing glasses or filters should only use those that conform to all International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.
  • If you purchase special viewing glasses, ensure they are from reputable manufacturers.  There have been reports of counterfeit products labeled as if they conform to international safety standards. The American Astronomical Society, whose products are known to conform to ISO standards, provides a list of reputable companies that conform to safety standards.

Eclipse resources for elementary students, including how to safely view the eclipse, will be shared with schools on April 2.  

Students and families are encouraged to read more about solar eclipses and safety and enjoy experiencing this exciting phenomenon.  

Families and students can safely view the eclipse via live stream here:  NASA live stream of the solar eclipse.

In addition, listed below are solar eclipse events sponsored by St. Mary's County libraries:

Solar Eclipse Party at Charlotte Hall Library: 3/29 at 2 pm

Solar Eclipse Party at Leonardtown Library: 3/29 at 2 pm- this program is already full, but folks can join the waitlist for a spot in case of cancellations.

Solar Eclipse Party at Lexington Park Library: 3/30 at 2 p.m.

Everyone who attends will receive eclipse-viewing glasses (and make their own pinhole viewer).  If the branches have surplus glasses after their programs, they will be available to library visitors on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.  Then, on the day of the eclipse, the Mobile Library will be at the Dorsey Park pavilion with the same solar science activities and more glasses to give away.

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Contact Information

23160 Moakley Street, 
Leonardtown, MD 20650