Northwest Missouri State University’s Department of Natural Sciences will host an observation of this spring’s solar eclipse, giving the local community a unique opportunity to view the moon passing in front of the sun.

The gathering will begin, weather permitting, at 12:40 pm, Monday, April 8, outside the entrance to the BD Owens Library. The peak of the eclipse is expected to occur at about 1:55 pm, and the event will conclude at 2:30 pm.

The observation, which is free and open to the public, will provide attendees with an opportunity to view the eclipse through telescopes with solar filters that allow for direct observation as well as projections as it happens. Solar glasses also will be available to attendees while supplies last.

Viewers in Maryville can expect to witness about 90 percent of the sun covered by the moon during the event. While the region also experienced a solar eclipse last October, the April event will be the last eclipse visible in the contiguous United States until 2044.

“After having three in the last seven years, that’s a significant time to be without,” Dr. David Richardson, a Northwest associate professor of physics, said. “You could chase eclipses around the world, but if you want one near home, it’s now or 20 years in the future.”

This observation is supported by the Jim Smeltzer Community Astronomy Fund and the Northwest Foundation.