Monday, August 14, 2017

Great American Solar Eclipse Next Monday: Some Ways to See It Safely

http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/SolarEclipseSafetyCanali.GIF
The Great American Solar Eclipse will cross the United States next Monday Afternoon, August 21, 2017. All areas of the United States will see the eclipse, although a Total Eclipse of the Sun will only be seen in a narrow Path of Totality (approx. 70.8 statute miles / 114 kilometers in width) across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. NO PARTIAL PHASE OF ANY SOLAR ECLIPSE / ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IS SAFE TO LOOK AT DIRECTLY, UNLESS YOU HAVE THE PROPER TRAINING AND PROPER EQUIPMENT TO DO SO SAFELY; OTHERWISE EYE-SIGHT COULD BE DAMAGED PERMANENTLY. This graphic shows one way to safely view the partial phases of a Solar Eclipse by building a Solar Pinhole Viewing Box (a.k.a. Pinhole Camera) as shown above. After building this box, you must turn your back to the Sun and allow the light from the Sun to go through the pinhole and shine on a white piece of paper on the other end of the box (NEVER LOOK THROUGH THE PINHOLE AT THE SUN!).
(Graphic Source: Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club.)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

One week from today, Monday, August 21 will be a special day in the United States as Americans encounter the Great American Solar Eclipse, of which the Path of Totality (the only area where the Sun's direct light will be completely blocked by the Moon for a short period of time) will cross the entire country from Oregon to South Carolina. Major cities within the Path of Totality include Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, and Columbia, South Carolina. These cities, along with other areas within the Path of Totality, will experience a short period of time (approximately two and one-half minutes) of a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, weather-permitting, which is a rare and beautiful sight.

However, the entire country will experience a Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun, weather-permitting. So everyone needs to be aware of the dangers of directly viewing the Eclipse, but also the ways to safely experience this remarkable astronomical event.

The last time a Total Solar Eclipse crossed the United States was 99 years ago—on 1918 June 8. On that date, the Eclipse Path of Totality moved from Washington State across the country to Florida.

The August 21 Eclipse is also the first time that Solar Eclipse Totality has reached the continental United States since 1979 February 26. However, a Total Solar Eclipse did reach Hawaii on 1991 July 11. Most of the continental United States saw a Partial Eclipse of the Sun that day in 1991 (that was the last Solar Eclipse observed by the general public, using the historic 10-inch Siderostat-Type Refractor Telescope, at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science).

The next Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, which will cross part of the United States, will occur in seven years, on 2024 April 8. This Eclipse will cross from Texas through Ohio, Erie County, Pennsylvania (where an Annular Eclipse of the Sun traveled on 1994 May 10), southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada, New York State, and New England.

There is only one short time period when it is safe to look at a Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun directly, with no artificial precautions. This is when a person is looking, specifically, at a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, specifically, when the person is within the Eclipse's Path of Totality, and specifically, during the short time period (a few minutes, often less) when the Eclipse is in the Total Phase. HOWEVER, all Partial Phases of a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun (which includes Solar Eclipses / Eclipses of the Sun described as "Hybrid"), leading up to the Total Phase, and after the Total Phase, are dangerous to view directly unless you have the proper training and proper equipment to do so safely. However, there are several ways to indirectly view such an Eclipse, which can be done safely when done with care.

The Great American Solar Eclipse will be seen as a Total Eclipse within a Path of Totality, which will be a narrow band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina with a width of approximately 70.8 statute miles / 114 kilometers. The greatest eclipse will occur in the environs of western Kentucky / southern Illinois, where the Total Phase will last two minutes and forty seconds.



People viewing the Eclipse within this Path of Totality will have approximately two and one-half minutes (depending on specific location) during the Total Phase when they can, safely, look directly at the Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun without any Eclipse Glasses, Pinhole Cameras, or any other special apparatus. HOWEVER, this approximately two and one-half minutes is the ONLY time when viewing the Eclipse without any special precautions is safe !!!

At all other times during the Eclipse, particularly during the Partial Phase leading-up to the Total Phase, and during the Partial Phase after the Total Phase, you should not look directly at the Eclipse unless you have the proper training and proper equipment to do so safely.

Of course, this is also true for the larger part of the country which will only experience a Partial Solar Eclipse / Partial Eclipse of the Sun. Again, there are indirect methods of observing the Eclipse that can be employed, when done with care !

First, click on the following link for a list of methods NOT SAFE to use to look at a Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun:

Link >>> buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

Of course, observing the Eclipse, live, on the Internet or on Television are obvious ways to view the event very safely. Several organizations, including NASA, will be live-streaming video of the Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun on their web-sites. Some television stations and / or networks may also air portions of the Eclipse event, particularly Cable Television Channels that specialize in news or science.

Throughout the country, many planetaria, astronomical observatories, science museums, college (or high school) science departments, amateur astronomy clubs, and public libraries are planning Eclipse “watch parties” where NASA's live-stream video can be seen inside while solar observing equipment, including a telescope, operated by a trained astronomer, will show the local event outside (weather-permitting).

For instance, in south suburban Pittsburgh, a public Eclipse viewing event will occur at the Mount Lebanon Public Library, 16 Castle Shannon Boulevard (near Washington Road) at the southern end of Mount Lebanon's Uptown business district (sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss).

An indirect way of viewing the Eclipse is by creating a Solar Pinhole Viewing Box, also known as a Pinhole Camera. As pictured at the top of this blog-post, you find a box large enough to fit your head for viewing. On one end of the box, inside, you place a white piece of typing, printer, or photocopy paper. At the other end of the box you cut-out a small hole, then cover the hole with aluminum foil, with a pinhole placed in the middle of the aluminum foil.

When standing with your back to the Sun, the Sun will shine through the pinhole and project a small image of the Sun on the white piece of paper. Do not expect a large or bright image of the Sun, since the pinhole cannot enlarge or brighten the image.

If you can use “Eclipse Glasses,” this is another safe way to look at the Sun, PROVIDED the Eclipse Glasses are genuine and undamaged. Unfortunately, there are some hucksters (particularly on the Internet) trying to sell unsafe glasses, which they call Eclipse Glasses. Before purchasing a pair of Eclipse Glasses, be sure they come from one of the vendors approved by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Check this AAS web-site for a list of approved vendors:


Eclipse Glasses are fragile. Once you purchase Eclipse Glasses, you should handle them gently at all times. Click the following link for instructions on the proper way to handle and use Eclipse Glasses:


For many years, it has been said that Number 14 Welder's Glass (only the Number 14 rating of Welder's Glass is safe for eye-sight) can be used to safely view a Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun. Although there are no guarantees, Number 14 Welder's Glass (which are actually designed for welding jobs) may be safe for viewing an Eclipse. However, due to the great brightness of the Sun, Number 14 Welder's Glass may be uncomfortable to use for Eclipse viewing.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2017.html#GASE

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

Eclipse: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclipse

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse

Solar Corona: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona

Solar Chromosphere: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosphere

Photos of New U.S. Postage Stamp Marking Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/astronomical-calendar-2017-june.html

Solar Haiku (in anticipation of the Great American Solar Eclipse) By Diane Woodward Dorff:
Link >>>  http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/poetry/dorffd/solarhaiku.html

Historic 10-inch Siderostat-Type Refractor Telescope at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html

Related Blog Posts ---

"Citizen Science: Aug. 21 Great American Solar Eclipse Mega-Movie Project."

2017 July 24.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/citizen-science-aug-21-great-american.html


"Strong Solar Flare Seen, Although Approaching Sunspot Minimum." 2017 July 15.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/07/strong-solar-flare-seen-although.html

 

"Special Solar Eclipse Stamp to be Unveiled During Stonehenge-Type Solstice Event in Wyoming." 2017 June 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/special-solar-eclipse-stamps-to-be.html

Photos of New U.S. Postage Stamp Marking Great American Solar Eclipse:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/astronomical-calendar-2017-june.html

 

     Safe Public Viewing of the Great American Solar Eclipse
                         Monday, August 21, 2017
     Mt. Lebanon Public Library, South Suburban Pittsburgh
More Info: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/archivenews/releases/poster-flyer/2017SolarEclipse-Flyer.htm


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2017 August 14.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
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South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

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