Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

with astronomer Bill Owen from JPL
Monday June 26 at 7:00 p.m.

A total eclipse of the sun is one of Nature's most stunning experiences.  The sunlight fades, the sky grows dark, the air turns cold, and eventually the sun disappears altogether for a few minutes.  It's twilight all around the horizon, the brighter stars are out, and the darkest spot in the sky is where the sun is supposed to be and it's not there anymore!  The whole universe feels upside down, inside out.  Is it any wonder that people through the millennia have been in awe of such a spectacle? 

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible in the continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years. This total eclipse will only be visible on a narrow track stretching across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.  No other country will get to see the total eclipse this time.  The rest of the United States (including Southern California) and other parts of North and Central America will see a partial eclipse, in which the Moon covers only a portion of the Sun.

How often does this happen?  Come to Crowell Public Library on Monday, June 26th at 7:00 p.m. to hear astronomer Bill Owen from JPL talk about this exciting event, what to expect and how to be prepared.  With any luck, nobody will be silly enough to look directly at the sun except during totality itself.  It is even more dangerous to look at the partially eclipsed sun, because the eyes dilate and let in more light than normal, and staring at the sun under normal conditions isn't safe.  It is definitely not safe to use regular sunglasses or blackened photographic film.  At this Crowell Library event, a limited number of special “door prizes” will be handed out for the “viewing” audience.  

Bill Owen is an astronomer and navigation engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  He has worked on missions from Voyager to New Horizons, visiting vicariously all of the outer planets and a handful of asteroids and comets.  He has traveled to total solar eclipses in Waycross GA (1970, cloudy) and San Jose del Cabo MX (1991, beautifully clear).  And he hopes to go to Oregon in August.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Helping Hands for Hand-Held Devices

Saturday June 10
2:00-4:00 pm
Electronically savvy and patient volunteers from the National Charity League will be available on Saturday June 10 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 pm at Crowell Public Library’s Barth Community Room to help frustrated people figure out how to use their hand-held devices.  Many people who have iPods, Androids, tablets, iPhones, and other gadgets, can’t figure out all of the features.  The young volunteers are familiar with many of the concepts behind these devices, so even if they haven’t used a particular gadget, they may be able to help a person figure out what to do.   

This program was initiated by San Marino High School student Chunbill “Billy” Liu who grew up surrounded by gadgets, but noticed there was a technology gap with people who did not have that advantage.  Billy approached Crowell Library about closing this gap, while getting in some community services hours for himself and his friends, but the program has continued because there is such a need.  Now volunteers from National Charity League have stepped in to help the tech-needy!
If you are frustrated with online and telephone support options, come to Crowell Library and work with a living, breathing techie that will help you “bond” with your device.  There’s nothing like one-on-one assistance to help solve problems and tackle sticky widgets.

Registration is required for this program.  To reserve your spot, please call 626-300-0777, extension 579 as soon as possible.  There are a limited number of volunteers, so slots will fill quickly.