With the solar eclipse coming this Monday, we wanted to make sure you are keeping your eyes safe with these tips to view this amazing occasion. This will be the first solar eclipse visible in the continental United States in 38 years.
An eclipse of the Sun happens when the New Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, blocking out the Sun’s rays and casting a shadow on parts of Earth.
The Moon’s shadow is not big enough to engulf the entire planet, so the shadow is always limited to a certain area. This area changes during the course of the eclipse because the Moon and Earth are in constant motion: Earth continuously rotates around its axis while it orbits the Sun, and the Moon orbits Earth. This is why solar eclipses seem to travel from one place to another. During the time things will seem incredible and bewildering: the temperature will drop, birds will begin to roost, streetlights come on. Basically it will seem that the entire continent is confused about what’s happening!
It’s estimated that over 500 million people across North America will at least see a partial eclipse on Monday, but only 12 million will see it in its totality. For this eclipse, there is a strip of land about 70 miles wide or so (called the ‘path of totality’) that stretches from central Oregon through South Carolina.The solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017 will be the last time to see it in America until 2024. For those of us in the Milwaukee area, the time to witness this phenomenon will be between 11:53 am and 2:40 pm, with the most exciting ‘maximum eclipse’ to occur at 1:18 pm. As the maximum sun coverage will be 83% for us locally, it is absolutely imperative to wear specific protective solar eclipse viewing glasses while observing at all times!
To be sure, staring at the sun is one of the worst things to do for your eyes. However, you will want to do it this time, just make sure you are being safe. The sun is bright enough to cause retinal damage to your eyes. The biggest risk to viewing the eclipse comes from the low energy radiation that passes through the eye and onto the retina, which can cause people to lose their visual acuity. This is similar to holding a magnifying glass in order to focus the sun to start a fire. You don’t want to do that to your eyes!
Here are four ways to safely view a solar eclipse:
Use approved solar eclipse viewers. The only safe way to view a partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or viewers that meet international standard ISO 12312-2 for safe solar eclipse viewing. Sunglasses, smoked glass, unfiltered telescopes or magnifiers, and polarizing filters are unsafe! If you are feeling crafty and cannot find approved solar eclipse viewers, use basic household items to build a pinhole projector to watch the eclipse.
From everyone at Metro Eye, have a safe and thrilling time watching the solar eclipse!