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Solar Eclipse 2017

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon blocks any part of the Sun. On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) across all of North America. The whole continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through the event, anyone within a roughly 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina.

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Is it safe to look at the sun during a solar eclipse?

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” (available at our office for purchase) or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun. To date four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products (Contact our office if you would like more information). Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.

How do I view the solar eclipse?

Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright Sun. After glancing at the Sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the Sun. If you are within the path of totality (we will be here in Charleston), remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. The Moon will completely blocks the Sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds, turning day into night and making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona — the Sun’s outer atmosphere — one of nature’s most awesome sights. Bright stars and planets will become visible as well. As soon as the bright Sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases

Can I look at the solar eclipse through a camera or telescope?

Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the Sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury phases of the eclipse.

Can I put eclipse glasses over prescription eyeglasses?

Yes! The reality is that these “eclipse glasses” are really solar filters, and are designed to be used for only a brief time, as you glance at the partial phases to check on the progress of the eclipse – and be able to actually participate in the excitement as the partial phase grows – toward totality! People will simply hold them over their eyes for a few seconds, to get a view of the partially-eclipsed Sun, and then turn away from the Sun after so many seconds of looking at the eclipse’s progress.The glasses themselves look like regular old pieces of cardboard, but what they contain as “lenses” is VERY specific, scientifically-designed solar filter material (which conforms to the ISO specification intended to regulate material which allows for safe direct solar viewing!).  If you think of them as filters which let you look at the Sun safely (which they ARE), rather than “glasses” to be worn like regular sunglasses (which they ARE NOT!), then you’ll get the picture.They are NOT to be worn while walking around, or driving, or doing any other activities – they are simply too dark!

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