Amid the excitement for August's total solar eclipse, it's important to know how to best view the celestial event without damaging our eyes. Here are ways to safely watch the total solar eclipse and where you can choose and get the right equipment.
The Great American Eclipse
The excitement level is high for what's being called the "Great American Eclipse," which will happen on Aug. 21. It is indeed great and American, as the rare total solar eclipse is expected to pass across North America from Oregon to South Carolina. This is especially relevant because the last total solar eclipse to sweep across the country was in 1918.
Amid the excitement, it is important to be prepared for the total solar eclipse to fully enjoy the majesty of the celestial event without seriously damaging the eyes. Naturally, even in a total solar eclipse, it is important to remember to not look directly into the sun.
In fact, the only time you can directly look at the location of the sun without filters is at the eclipse's totality, which is when the sun is completely covered by the moon. That is, however, just a small amount of time, which would add up to just over two minutes.
Where To Get Solar Eclipse Glasses
It is important to have special-purpose solar filters or eclipse glasses in hand to view the eclipse as it runs its over two-hour course. Dark sunglasses won't do the job and are not safe to use when looking at the eclipse.
According to a memo sent out by NASA and five other organizations, there are four manufacturers of solar eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers so far to have certified their products to meet the ISO 12312-2 international standards. These are American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.
These certified products will block out harmful ultraviolet rays, infrared, and intense visible light and can easily be bought through the respective companies' websites or over on Amazon and other online retailers, where they can be bought either individually or in bulk, depending on your need.
Tips For Viewing The Eclipse
It is important to remember that the actual totality of the eclipse lasts less than three minutes. So while it is safe to remove the eclipse glasses during the totality, it is important to place them back on before the sunlight begins to peek through the side of the moon again.
When removing the eclipse glasses, it is best to look away before taking them off. Further, looking at the eclipse from unfiltered telescopes, binoculars, glasses, or even cameras is not advisable, as the concentrated solar rays may damage the filter and cause serious injury to the eyes.
As this is a rare celestial event, following these simple rules would allow you to safely enjoy and best experience one of nature's most exceptional phenomena.