Great Falls man gets a second chance to photograph total solar e

(GREAT FALLS)  On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will pass over North America, the first time one has crossed completely over the continent since 1979.

The path of 100% totality will pass through parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and South Dakota. 

Most of Montana will see a partial solar eclipse, where sun obscuration will be greater than 80%, and more than 90% in parts of southern Montana.

In Great Falls, the eclipse will begin at 10:19 a.m. Maximum obscurity – about 88.5% – will occur at 11:35 a.m. The eclipse will end in Great Falls at 12:57 p.m.

The clouds kept Norm Anderson from getting the perfect shot of the eclipse in 1979.

“I tried to shoot the eclipse back here in the 70’s when we had a partial eclipse here in Great Falls. So this is my second chance,” Anderson said.

Anderson will be driving through Yellowstone National Park to scout out some locations to shoot on his way to Riverton, Wyoming.

“Finding a location to shoot is going to be the trick because you can’t just stop in the middle of the highway you have got to have a place to stop. I have to be there soon enough to set up cause I am not going to set up in 30 seconds,” Anderson said. 

Experts say that viewing the eclipse without protecting your eyes can be dangerous – and could even cause blindness.

But finding special “eclipse-safe” glasses in these final days leading up to Monday is getting more difficult by the hour.

We checked with some of the largest retailers in Great Falls, including Walmart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens, and they are all sold out, and don’t expect any new shipments in time for the eclipse.

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One option: order from or another reputable online retailers, and choose next-day or expedited shipping. Click here to see a list of online options. Click here for safety information from NASA.

Great Falls College-MSU will host a solar eclipse viewing on that day, and is inviting people to attend.

NASA says that the only safe way to look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. 

GFC-MSU will have approximately 500 eclipse-safe viewing glasses available to students, faculty, staff and the community on a first-come, first-served basis during the viewing.

The college will also show NASA’s livestream of the eclipse in the Weaver Library.

“It’s not every day you get the chance to see a solar eclipse,” said Laura Wight, director of eLearning and library services. “We hope the community will join us to experience this incredibly rare event.”

The solar eclipse viewing event at the college will start at 10 a.m. on August 21st on the northeast edge of campus.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Erin Granger at GFC-MSU at 406.771.4314.

For more information on viewing safety, visit:


Total Solar Eclipse: Countdown is on to Montana’s dark day

Yellowstone National Park braces for tourist impact of solar eclipse

How to photograph the August solar eclipse

Flashback: Solar Eclipse Over Montana in 1979


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