- Associated Press - Monday, August 14, 2017

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (AP) - While most Massachusetts residents will see only a partial solar eclipse next Monday, 14-year-old Plum Island resident Cameron Cassidy is heading on a trip to catch the full effect of an event he has waited half his life to see.

On Aug. 21, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, creating a total solar eclipse only viewable in certain within a path of totality stretching across the United States, from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina.

The moon will block out all of the sun’s rays for a few brief minutes, creating the first total solar eclipse to be visible across the country since 1918. The rest of North America will experience a partial eclipse in which the moon will cover at least part of the sun’s disk.

Cassidy, who developed a love of astronomy at a young age, said he marked the date on his calendar seven years ago, knowing it would probably be his only chance to witness the extremely rare event.

“I vividly remember being on the NASA website in 2009 or 2010 and seeing the eclipse date listed for 2017,” Cassidy said. “This has been in my head for a long time.”

After years of anticipation, Cassidy and his father, Peter Cassidy, are heading to Atlanta for the event, joining millions of Americans flocking to different locations to get the full experience.

Having seen photographs and video footage of similar events, Cassidy said he is excited to finally witness the natural beauty of what he hopes to be an incredible and unique celestial spectacle.

“It’s so magical,” he said. “It really reminds you that we’re on a planet orbiting around the sun in the middle of an empty galaxy.”

Cassidy said he hopes to document the experience with his telephoto camera and plans on wearing protective “solar eclipse goggles” to shield his eyes from the sun’s rays.

In Newburyport, the eclipse will create a crescent-shaped view of the sun beginning at 1:28 p.m., reaching its peak at 2:46 p.m. and ending at 3:58 p.m.

To avoid serious eye damage, NASA recommends that anyone hoping to view the eclipse wear special eclipse glasses that are available online.

“You can actually take a pretty good picture on your phone if you put solar eclipse goggles over the camera lens,” Cassidy said. “It’s really an incredible thing to see. There’s nothing else like it.”

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Online: https://bit.ly/2wYjqu1

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For more information: Newburyport Daily News, www.newburyportnews.com

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