A total solar eclipse is a rare event. It’s been 38 years since one has been visible in the continental United States, and the last eclipse viewed throughout the entire country was nearly a century ago! While August 21 will be a momentous occasion to view this spectacular sight, it’s important to know basic tips for preparation and safe viewing.
Preparing for the Big Event:
- Check for local information on when the eclipse will be viewable in your area. NASA has a great website with plenty of information and an interactive map of the U.S. so that you can plan your viewing party!
- Make sure you have your solar viewing glasses ready. Only use solar viewing glasses that are verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Regular sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking directly at the sun.
Viewing Tips for Eclipse Day:
- In certain portions of the country, the moon will completely obscure the sun during a brief phase known as “totality.” The map below shows the path of totality in dark grey. If you will be viewing the eclipse from a location along this path, totality is the only time when it is safe to look directly at the eclipse with no protective eyewear. However, it is crucial to wear your solar viewing glasses before totality begins and after it concludes.
- For the rest of the country not in the path of totality, you can still participate in this major event! However, solar viewing glasses should be worn for the entire duration of the eclipse.
Special thanks to NASA for the graphics shown here.