Safely Watching the Solar Eclipse

For the first time since 1979, people across the country will be able to witness a Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017. This scientific phenomenon only takes place every 18 months and hasn’t been seen from North American soil in more than 38 years.

Although partial solar eclipses’ occur worldwide multiple times a year, a Total Solar Eclipse occurs only when the disk of the moon appears to completely cover the disk of the sun, causing the sky to turn dark for roughly two minutes and the temperature to drop up to 10 degrees.

 

Where You Can See It

Space.com says the Great American Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies all the way from South Carolina to Oregon, along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. People who descend upon this “path of totality” for the big event are in for an unforgettable experience. In Michigan, we will experience a partial eclipse – where the moon covers only part of the sun.

 

Safety

Viewing

NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun – even when it is partially covered by the moon – can cause serious eye damage or blindness. There are a few safe ways to view the eclipse:

  • Solar viewing glasses. These protective shades make it possible for observers to look directly at the sun before and after totality. Look for glasses approved by the American Astronomical Society – sunglasses cannot be used in place of solar viewing glasses. Check with your local library or planetarium to see if they offer some.
  • Projection allows you to view the eclipse without looking at the sun. Per NASA, place a pinhole or small opening in a piece of paper and hold it between the sun and a screen on the ground a few feet away. An image of the sun – and resulting eclipse – will be seen on the screen.
  • Live video streams of the August 21 total solar eclipse, from NASA Television and locations across the country, will begin at noon at www.nasa.gov/eclipselive.

 

Driving

NASA representatives predict August 21, 2017 to be one of the worst traffic days in recent history. Approximately 25 million people reside within a day’s drive of the path of totality. Keep the following in mind, if you’re traveling:

  • Have your vehicle serviced prior to leaving. Check oil, tires and brakes.
  • Pack an emergency kit and extra food, water and blankets.
  • Plan your route and have a backup.

For a list of times, locations, travel information and interactive maps; visit Space.com or NASA.gov.