Total Eclipse Watch – Top Tips for Safe Viewing
Mark your calendars for August 21, because we will have the opportunity to view a total solar eclipse! It’s also the first time a total solar eclipse has gone from one American coast to the other since 1918.
According to NASA, the eclipse is expected to be visible (weather permitting) across North America with much of the continent able to experience a partial eclipse lasting two to three hours. Halfway through the eclipse, the moon will completely block the sun for more than two minutes. That means stars and planets become viewable as well.
The eclipse path is about 70 miles wide and more than 2,000 miles long and will cross from Oregon to South Carolina. Even though we won’t be able to see the total solar eclipse, the partial eclipse is something to behold. It will be visible for us between 1:26 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. Maximum viewing is at 2:57 p.m.
In order to find the best way to witness this awe-inspiring spectacle, a good resource is Buehler Planetarium and Observatory Director Susan Barnett. Whether you are planning to come to the Observatory or will step outside your house, below are some do’s and don’ts (safety first), for eclipse viewing.
- It is important to protect your eyes at all times with the proper solar filters. Under no circumstance should you stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and rest your eyes. Note: sunglasses don’t offer your eyes sufficient protection.
- The same principle goes for any other optical device such as unfiltered camera, telescope, or binoculars — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
- The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. According to NASA, four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.
- An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.
Now that you know how to protect your eyes, we invite you to the watch the eclipse with us:
Hugh Adams Central Campus
3501 SW Davie Rd.
Arrive: 1:15 pm
Start of Partial Eclipse: 1:26:16 pm
End of Partial Eclipse: 4:20:18 pm
Visit https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/fort-lauderdale for animation of how the partial eclipse might look in our neck of the woods.
For more information on the Buehler Planetarium and Observatory and its events, visit http://www.broward.edu/studentlife/planetarium/Pages/default.aspx or call 954-201-6681.