Stay Safe for the Total Solar Eclipse

If you normally have the Monday Blues, this upcoming Monday should hopefully be different for you. On Aug. 21, 2017 the United States will be able to witness its first Total Solar Eclipse in almost 40 years. The states of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are in the direct line of where the total solar eclipse will be visible. It’s not the end of the world — just an amazing phenomenon easily explained by science!

Tips For Viewing the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

You may not know it, but the RRG Team gets especially excitable around science. We also care for you, our readers and customers, and want you to stay safe during this rare event. The next couple of paragraphs will be a bit of science mumbo-jumbo so if you’re here for the safety tips, you can just skip it.

What is a solar eclipse and really, how rare is an eclipse?

A solar eclipse is when our moon travels across our view of the sun. The universe works in the most random ways possible so the path of the moon never aligns in the same place every time. The total eclipse can be seen from the very specific path it takes across the sun; everywhere else you see the moon at an angle. This is known as a partial eclipse.

Solar eclipses are actually not rare at all! Solar eclipses happen at least twice a year. As we should all know, the world is round and because of that, the way we see the sun and what times we all see the sun differ from timezone to timezone. When it’s daytime in the United States, it’s nighttime over in China! Most of the eclipses we witness, in the United States year to year, are usually partial eclipses. The last total solar eclipse we saw was in 1979! This year, the total eclipse will be viewable in an almost straight path between Salem, Ore., and Charleston, S.C. Everywhere else in the world will either see a partial eclipse or no eclipse at all. At the very least, all of the United States will be able to view some type of eclipse.

As the moon crosses the sun, there will be a band of light visible around the moon. That ring is called a corona. It is safe to view the eclipse when it is total, but otherwise, remember back to your childhood when your mom was constantly warning you not to stare directly into the sun! Now on to the safety tips!

Planning to travel and view the eclipse?

Our country has a lot of real estate and there will be plenty of room for all who are interested to view this phenomenon. All across the states that the total eclipse will be visible there will be events and viewing parties. For more information on these events visit National Eclipse.

What’s the safest way to view the eclipse?

If you stare into the sun, you will damage your eyes. It starts with a sunburn on your eye, and the pain is akin to rubbing your eye with fine grit sandpaper. Stare any longer and you begin to damage the retina and the macula. You know when a camera flashes and you see that little black dot in the center of your vision? Now imagine seeing that dot permanently and eventually it will expand. Staring at the sun is no joke and this doesn’t change during the eclipse.

You can luckily buy safety eyewear designed to protect your eyes against intense, bright light. A lot of them look like 3D movie glasses but if you want to go the cheap, simple route just buy a welder’s mask. If you’re looking for a list of reputable vendors that sell solar filters and viewers then follow this link. Or if you’d prefer to make your own you can follow the instructions posted here.

With all the craziness happening in our country right now, viewing the eclipse is a wholesome teaching event for you, your kids and all your friends to enjoy together. If you absolutely cannot catch the eclipse this time around, something has aligned in your favor. The next total solar eclipse viewable in the United States is only seven years away! April 8, 2024 is the next date of a total solar eclipse viewable by Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. Learn everything you can and be safe on Monday!

If you need more information about the solar eclipse on Monday, NASA has kindly created a website dedicated to providing information and tips surrounding this natural phenomena: