4 Do’s and Don’ts of Total Solar Eclipse 2017
You might have heard that the total solar eclipse 2017 is coming on Monday, August 21st. Depending on where you live, you will see either a full or partial eclipse. What does this mean? The moon will cross into the path of the sun, blocking the light from sun for a short period of time. Total solar eclipses are fairly rare – the last one to happen in the United States was 1979. Here are some do’s and don’ts as you prepare for the solar event of the decade.
1. Don’t: Look directly at the sun
What your mom told you is true. It will cause damage. Staring at the sun with the naked eye for any length of time will cause permanent damage. This is very important. Do not stare directly at the sun even if the moon is partially eclipsing it. Even if you want to glance up at it, do not! Even if you are just looking at it to take a picture, do not! The rays from the sun are incredibly strong and will permanently damage your eyes.
2. Do: Get special solar glasses…
… or make your own solar eclipse viewing device. It is probably too late to purchase glasses online, but some might still be available at brick and mortar stores. Be sure to check with your local library as some received free glasses to give away.
Some local community groups have a limited amount of glasses they are giving away for free. If you can’t find any glasses, don’t panic. You can also make your own viewing device with cardboard. They are easy and inexpensive to make.
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3. Don’t: Take pictures of the eclipse with your camera…
… unless you have a special filter. If you have a DSLR or digital camera (not on a smartphone) you could damage your lens permanently if you take a picture of the eclipse without the filter. Again, brick and mortar stores are your best bet to get a lens protector this late.
If you plan on using your smartphone, you should be okay with using your regular camera on the phone. Be sure to not look directly at the sun while taking the picture. Keep your glasses on at all times!
4. Do: Go outside
It’s perfectly safe to be outside during the eclipse. If you have to be out and about for work or school, there is no need to worry. There is no need for special protection for your eyes or skin. The only time to be cautious is when you look directly at the sun. If you are in the path of the total eclipse 2017, you will get the unique experience of darkness during the daylight hours.
Now you are ready for the eclipse. Even if you are not in the path of the total eclipse, the partial eclipse is an exciting event to share with friends and family. Make sure everyone is equipped with glasses or a viewer so they can safely look at the sun. And if you can’t make it outside, don’t worry. You can view the eclipse online from NASA’s live stream.