Monday August 21st is approaching fast, which means people are ready to see the spectacular solar eclipse!
Where will YOU be? Are you in the path of totality?
Whether you will be seeing the total eclipse or even the partial eclipse, we have answered some of the questions you may be wondering:
What should I expect to see during a total solar eclipse?
The moon will pass between the sun and the Earth and, for just a few minutes, the moon will either completely or partially block out the sun.
If you are in the path of totality—stretching from Oregon to South Carolina—you will be able to see a total solar eclipse! For everyone else in the United States, we will at least see a partial eclipse.
How long will the total solar eclipse last?
It will last only about two minutes and 40 seconds, so be ready!
When was the last total eclipse? Will there be others in the future?
There was a total eclipse was in 1979, but the last coast-to-coast eclipse similar to the one coming up occurred on June 8, 1918. Almost 100 years ago!
North America is expected to have another total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.
What should I do to prepare?
If you are headed into the path of totality, know that there will be heavy traffic. Estimates predict between 1 and 7.4 million people are traveling to these states to see the eclipse!
Eye Safety During the Eclipse
How do I protect my eyes during the eclipse?
(Photo Credit: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety)
Regular sunglasses are not adequate protection against the sun’s powerful light. The only way to safely view the eclipse is with a special pair of solar eclipse glasses. Eclipse glasses have specialized filters that minimize harmful UV, infrared, and visible light.
Only four manufacturers have met international standards for producing this product: American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.
If you are in the path of totality, you can safely remove your eclipse glasses ONLY when the sun is completely blocked by the moon. This means there is no direct sunlight coming towards you. Once the sun’s light begins to peek through again, wear your eclipse glasses to avoid damage from the sun’s direct light.
If you will be viewing the partial total eclipse, wear eclipse glasses at all times.
- Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
- Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
What will happen to my eyes if I look at the sun too long?
Looking at the sun for too long can cause solar retinopathy, which refers to the damage of the light-sensitive tissues of the retina. Symptoms may not be immediate, but can include sore, watery eyes; objects appearing distorted; discomfort with looking at bright lights; and a blind spot in your central vision.
You can also get photokeratitis, which is caused by overexposure to UV rays. Think of it like a sunburn for your eyes. While not permanent, photokeratitis can be painful.
Where can I buy solar eclipse glasses?
Many vendors are selling eclipse glasses, but know that not all are created equally. Beware of scammers. Make sure the glasses say they are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.
For your convenience, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) has compiled a list of reputable sellers of eclipse glasses.
Written by Kendra Shiffler