Now You Know

How to Prepare for the Total Eclipse of the Sun

2008 Solar Eclipse, Image Credit: The Exploratorium
2008 Solar Eclipse, Image Credit: The Exploratorium
Now everyone, (almost) anywhere around the world can watch the total solar eclipse of the Sun on Monday, August 21. That’s because NASA plans to live stream it using 11 spacecrafts, at least three NASA aircrafts, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station–each offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event.

The show starts at 1 p.m. EDT.

How can the Moon, so much smaller than the Earth and the Sun totally hide the Sun? Here’s a video that explains it:

Apparently, since the Moon is slowly pulling away from the Earth (about 3.8 cm or 1.5 in. per year), we can expect the Last Total Solar Eclipse to take place about 563 million years from now (or in about 1.2 billion years from now, depending on who you ask).

How to ensure you view the eclipse safely? Remember, it is never safe to look at the Sun directly without proper eclipse safety glasses (even then, it is recommended that you don’t watch for more than 3 minutes at a time). There are no pain sensors at the back of your eyes and you will not know if your eye is being burned. Similarly, never look at the Sun through your camera without approved solar filters. (The only time it is safe to look directly at the Sun is when the totality eclipse occurs, when the Moon totally obscures the Sun.) Lou Tomososki and his friend were school children when they looked at a partial eclipse in 1962 without proper eye protection; they both suffered permanent eye damage and he is sharing a warning with every one today.

This video explains important safety precautions to take:

Credit: Karl Tate, Contributor

Credit: Karl Tate, Contributor

If you are planning to photograph the solar eclipse, here’s an article that may help:

Make your own personal Pinhole Projector using a cereal box to safely view the solar eclipse:

Or, my favorite, simply make one using two pieces of cardboard for everyone around you to view safely:

Pinhole Camera