Solar Eclipse Prep: Five Helpful Links

Solar eclipse, eclipse, eclipse... suddenly this thing is upon us, or will be Monday afternoon between 1:30 and 4, with the fullest coverage around 2:30. Here are five helpful links to get you ready for this historic astronomical event.

1. From NASA: Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality. 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; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight. Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page (linked at end) for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products... Find the full article on eclipse safety here.

2. Want to build one of those pinhole cameras with a show box you might have built in science class? Here's the eclipse pinhole camera how-to video.

3. Dangers: You could damage your eyes or your camera lens... it might be cloudy. There might be wildfires or clouds to block the sun. There might be serious traffic! Here's a decent summary of the dangers of the eclipse from the Washington Post. 

4. If you’re stuck indoors, the weather is absolutely terrible, or you live where you won’t get to see even a partial eclipse, you can enjoy the action virtually instead. NASA will stream the event live on a number of platforms, including its official Facebook, Periscope, Twitch and UStream pages, as well as on NASA TV and the official NASA YouTube channel. You can even download the official NASA apps for iPhone and Android and watch the eclipse on your phone or tablet. Here's the full New York Times article about how to watch the eclipse if conditions are not ideal

5. Tips for photographers: the total solar eclipse crossing America on Aug. 21 will be the first eclipse to march from sea to shining sea in nearly 100 years. This astronomical event is a unique opportunity for scientists studying in the shadow of the Moon, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to capture unforgettable images. Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a selfie master, try out these five tips from NASA for photographing the eclipse.