On August 21st, North America is in for an adventure – a solar eclipse. As a science teacher and a space nut, I mistakenly thought everyone already knew this. Turns out several people in my life had no idea.
A solar eclipse is when the moon moves in front of the sun and casts a shadow on the Earth. Because the moon’s shadow is tiny in comparison with the Earth, only a small part of North America will see a total eclipse, which is where the moon completely covers the sun. It’s been 38 years since the last total eclipse was visible in the continental United States, so you should make an effort to see it.
Where I live, only about 90% of the sun will be covered. It still should be a pretty awesome experience. If you get a chance to observe the eclipse, remember – NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITHOUT THE PROPER EYE PROTECTION. SUNGLASSES ARE NOT ENOUGH!!!!
You can view the eclipse indirectly with a pinhole camera, or you can use special glasses, like these. I bought mine online, but check around in your area. Some places are giving eclipse glasses away, especially if you live in the path of totality. The glasses aren’t expensive (I think I paid around $1.50 for mine).
Unfortunately, some people are more interested in making a buck off the eclipse than they are in your personal safety. Make sure that if you buy glasses, that they come from one of the companies approved by NASA. Check out NASA’s Eclipse safety site here – https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety
For more information on the eclipse, check out NASA’s main site https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/