Even though in our region we will not get to view a total solar eclipse we will still be treated to a spectacular event as the moon will pass over the sun and cover almost 78% of it in our area. The weather is expected to cooperate enough that we can see most of the eclipse this afternoon. The moon should start encroaching at about 1:10 pm and cover the sun by 2:30, at 3:52 the moon will have completely passed by the sun and we will not experience another solar eclipse for another seven years. We have put together this guide to help people who hope to watch it happen get the most out of their 2017 experience.
Like with everything safety is the most important aspect of watching a solar eclipse. Staring directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage and even blindness and so of course it comes recommended by everyone from eye doctors to grandmothers that you don’t do that. Don’t think you can just slap on some shades and be ok either; regular every day sunglasses are not designed for looking directly into the sunlight, and especially not for a long period of time, there are specially rated pairs of glasses that are certified for eclipse and sun viewing that will be covered a little later in this blog post along with other ways to safely watch the eclipse event.
Looking at the eclipse with your unprotected eyes, through a pair of binoculars, or even through the lense of a camera can harm your eyes. Also, do not forget your sunblock. Even though the sun is going to be mostly covered by the moon for a while the chance of getting a sunburn from exposure to UV rays is still possible.
How to Watch the Eclipse
The easiest way to watch the eclipse this year is with a pair of specially certified sunglasses that will be stamped with an ISO icon. Properly certified glasses will be stamped with a little symbol that reads ISO 12312-2. Eclipse glasses are manufactured by Thousand Oaks Optical, Rainbow Symphony, Baader Planetarium, and American Paper Optics. Eclipse glasses manufactured by other companies, lacking the ISO symbol, or more than three years old should not be trusted to protect your eyes during the eclipse.
If you aren’t one of the people in the region lucky enough to own a pair of certified solar eclipse glasses don’t fret too hard because it is quick and easy to build your own way to view the solar eclipse at home with a simple pinhole projector. The pinhole projector works similarly to a movie projector by displaying the light behind it and magnifying it to be larger. NASA has a simple video tutorial on how to make a projector using a cereal box, some printer paper, and aluminum foil.
If your not feeling crafty, still have to be at work, or want to see the full monty our friends at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have you covered again. All you need is an internet connection and you can stream the eclipse live from several different areas around the country.
And by the Way
Be advised that the sun is not only bright enough to damage your eyes, it can damage your camera equipment too. Any camera, especially one equipped with a zoom lens, is at risk for being damaged or destroyed by the light coming off of the sun. Even a camera from your cellular phone can be broken or damaged if you try to use it to take photographs of the event without the proper equipment and filters.