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Friday, July 12, 2024

Suffolk County Executive Romaine Announces County Parks Open for Upcoming Solar Eclipse Viewing


County Urges Residents to Take Necessary Safety Measures

Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) announced Friday that Suffolk County Parks will be open and available for residents to enhance their viewing experience of the upcoming solar eclipse. The rare occurrence is expected to take place on Monday, April 8, beginning at approximately 2:10p.m. with the maximum eclipse hitting in the range of 3:15-3:30p.m.

“Suffolk County is home to thousands of acres of pristine parkland throughout the region, providing our residents from western Suffolk to the east end with a unique and scenic opportunity to experience the upcoming solar eclipse,” said Romaine.” I encourage the public to take advantage of the various amenities our County has to offer in a safe and enjoyable manner.”

The following parks will be open free to residents with the following amenities and viewing options:

  • Smith Point County Park, Shirley: offers unique spot for beachfront eclipse viewing, allowing visitors to watch from either the parking lot or while sitting in the sand along the shore. 
  • Gardiner Park, Bay Shore: has a large open field that is perfect for an eclipse picnic.
  • Raynor Park, Lake Ronkonkoma: offers open space by the soccer fields.
  • Southaven County Park, Yaphank: access to a large ballfield that is perfect for looking skyward. 
  • West Hills County Park, Huntington: has a viewing field by the picnic areas and dog park. 
  • Montauk County Park, Montauk: allows residents to experience the eclipse from the Eastern most point of Suffolk County.

The region is outside the path of totality, which means that viewers will see about 90% coverage.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services reminds residents that there is no time during the eclipse when it is safe to look at the sun with the naked eye. Proper eye protection must be worn throughout the eclipse. 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, looking at the sun without proper eye protection for even a short time can harm your eyes and risk permanently damaging your retina. Sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not enough to protect your vision if you look at the sun. Homemade filters will not protect your eyes.

To safely watch the eclipse, residents are advised to wear eclipse glasses with certified solar filters or hand-held solar viewers made by a reputable company.

In addition, do not use solar eclipse glasses to look through cameras, binoculars or telescopes – these devices concentrate the sun’s rays and damage the solar filter, allowing the sun’s rays to damage the retina. For a listing of reputable companies and guidance on using eclipse glasses, visit the American Astronomical Society website: https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/viewers-filters

County Executive Ed Romaine has served as Suffolk County Executive since 2024. He previously served as Brookhaven Town Supervisor (2012-2024), a Suffolk County Legislator (1986-1989; 2005-2012), and as Suffolk County Clerk (1989-2005).