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The Sun will be right back

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Science

Image from NASA

NASA Image of Solar Eclipse as seen by Hinode Satellite in 2009 https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hinode/index.html

The upcoming 2017 Solar Eclipse (taking place on August 21st, 2017) will be an amazing opportunity for many people to see a solar eclipse for the first time. While many people think that solar eclipses are rare, they actually happen about every 18 months on average. What makes the upcoming one special is that it’s the first total solar eclipse (the Moon completely covering the Sun) to be viewable in the continental US since 1979. If you think you’ll skip it and catch the next one, then plan to wait 28 years, as the next one that’s even close in quality won’t happen until August 12th, 2045 in the US. While most of the US will still only see a partial eclipse (and a good one at that), a nice swath of the country from East to West will get to see the full show!

There are several excellent sources of information about how to view the upcoming eclipse on the web.  Here are a couple of my recommended links that you can visit to learn more.

  • NASA Eclipse Info – A great place to start is the NASA 2017 Total Eclipse website. Here you can learn all about the eclipse. One of the great things on the site is an interactive solar eclipse map where you can click to see how much of the eclipse you will be able to see (if the skies are clear in your area), for how long, and at what time (in UTC time that is).
  • Solar Eclipse Glasses and Other Viewing Systems – If you are going to view the eclipse you will need proper eye protection. NEVER look at the Sun directly, and only watch the eclipse with certified viewing glasses, a properly configured telescope, or indirectly using a pin hole camera or other indirect viewing technique.  If you do get solar eclipse glasses MAKE SURE they are “ISO 12312-2 : 2015 Eye and face protection – Sunglasses and related eyewear – part 2: Filters for direct observation of the sun.” Most of the glasses you will find on Amazon are Chinese made glasses that have fake certificates, so be careful! Here’s an Amazon link http://amzn.to/2f3b4xK to Soluna Solar Eclipse Glasses that are certified and manufactured by American Paper Optics, LLC (one of the only ones recommended on the NASA website). Make sure they are sold by GSM and fulfilled by Amazon. Others that claim to be the Soluna glasses are fakes!

How to create an indirect pinhole eclipse viewer.

  • Find A Viewing Event – There will be LOTS of viewing events going on. Many local science museums and observatories will have events. NASA also has a large number of official viewing event locations. Click on the image below to learn more.

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