August 21, 2017, is likely to be a memorable day for Americans as all of them can see the solar eclipse although only a few can see its total effect. Although viewing the eclipse, whether total or partial, largely depends on the weather, the people who come under the path of totality are super excited at the prospect of witnessing a rare event. Some may even consider it to be a once in a lifetime affair.
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Depending on where you are located along the path of totality also known as the shadow band, the maximum duration of the eclipse could be 2 minutes 40 seconds. The umbral cone of the shadow band travels at an amazing speed of 1000 miles per hour; hence the sun is just briefly shadowed by the moon to create the moment of darkness. Amid the excitement, you should never forget about the safe ways of viewing the eclipse that has been discussed in this post.
The risks of viewing
Millions of people across the US would dare to gaze at the sun on that day to see how it disappears and reappears again from nowhere. The Houdini act of sorts will happen in broad daylight, mostly around noon, and will last for just a minute or two when there will be total darkness. For most of the other times, the sun rays would peep from behind the solar disc. You can well imagine what would happen if you chance to look into the sun directly with your naked eyes.
Take safety measures
Despite the excitement of seeing how night descends at noon, eclipse viewers are keener to see the progression of the event, stage by stage. This means that they would like to see the gradual transition of the moon across the surface of the sun that would compel them to keep their eyes fixed on the sun for a considerable time. Trying it out without adequate protection could lead to blindness. Know about the safe ways of seeing the sun without hurting your eyes.
Solar viewing glasses
Use solar viewing glasses recommended by NASA for looking at the sun directly and safely during the eclipse. The lenses of the viewing glasses use special glass filters that have the capability of cutting out the blaze of sunlight and make it bearable for the eyes. The solar filters are specially constructed and are thousands of times darker than the glazes and sunglasses that are used. The NASA recommendation is accepted by the American Astronomical Society that is actively involved in hosting the event. The glasses are capable of cutting out the sunlight and show only the face of the sun. When buying solar viewing glass ensure that it meets the latest ISO standard 12312-2.
The pin-hole camera is also used to view eclipses but it holds good only for partial eclipses of the sun and not the total eclipse that is being talked about. Use protective glasses for enjoying the event safely in the way you want.
About the author:
Trudy Seeger is a professor of astrophysics and is also a member of the AAS (American Astronomical Society). Educating people about the solar eclipse and the mysteries of the universe is his hobby. A music lover, he is attracted to fusion music.