On Monday, August 21, 2017, America will experience the first coast-to-coast total Solar Eclipse in almost 100 years. The last total solar eclipse occurred on February 26, 1979, over northwestern states and south central Canada.
While the southern states, including Texas, will not have a total eclipse, we will have a partial eclipse that is worth watching. Which brings us to discussing how to watch this event without damaging our eyes. For our whole lives, we’ve been told not to look directly at the sun – great advice. Even a few seconds of exposure can damage the retina of your eye permanently.
Safe Watching Tips
The Center for Disease Control recommends the only way to look directly at the sun when it’s not eclipsed or is only partly eclipsed is with a special solar filter, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer. Goggles, homemade filters, or sunglasses, even very dark ones, will not protect your eyes. Also, always avoid looking at the sun through an unfiltered camera, smartphone, telescope, or any other optical device. You’ll need to add a certified solar filter to these devices to safely look at the sun.
Eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers are inexpensive and can be purchased from many retailers. However, not all meet the required ISO 12312-2 international safety standards; make sure yours do. Even if your eclipse glasses meet the safety standards, don’t use them if:
- The lenses are scratched.
- The lenses are wrinkled.
- They are older than 3 years.
Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac also has some suggestions for safe ways to view the eclipse.
Make a Pinhole Viewer
Some people punch a pinhole in a box and let the Sun project its eclipsed image on another interior part of the box. That’s always safe because you’re not looking directly at the Sun. See NASA’s guide on how to make a pinhole camera.
Purchase Welder’s Goggle Filters
If you do not have access to a solar filter, you may use instead what is called a no.14 welder’s glass, available in most local hardware stores.
When is the next Total Solar Eclipse?
Total solar eclipses can be addictive. Fortunately, fanatics—and anyone who misses this year’s event—won’t need to wait 38 more years for the next U.S. and Canadian one—only 7. On April 8, 2024, solar totality will unfold over the continent in a path that curves north from Texas; passes over Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo and Rochester, New York; sweeps over Burlington, Vermont; and then continues across central Maine and eastern Canada.
Dean and Draper
We hope that you will take a moment to experience this amazing eclipse and will find our tips useful. When you have a question about your insurance, we also hope that you will give us a call.
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