You don’t want to miss it, but unfortunately your sunglasses won’t cut it when it comes to protecting your eyes.
On Monday, August 21st, 2017 the Great American Eclipse will be taking place on our continent, in an arc across the sky. It’s an amazing moment to witness as the moon passes in front of the sun and darkens the Earth for a few minutes in the middle of the day. We truly are a tiny part of the universe.
Depending on where you live, you could experience the total eclipse, or just a part of it.
Check out this map made by Nasa to see if you’ll be in its path.
If you live in the arc from Oregon down through South Carolina in the U.S, you can witness the moon moving completely in front of the sun.
If you won’t be in this specific area on the 21st but you’ll still be in North America, you will have a chance of viewing a portion of the eclipse, as long as it isn’t cloudy. (Even if it is, things will become darker for a few minutes as the sun and the moon cross paths, we just won’t see the overlap happen).
When watching an eclipse, it’s important to remember that you’re looking at the sun. This can damage your eyes and you need to wear the right equipment if you’re going to be looking up.
According to Nasa, the only time it’s safe to look at the eclipse without protective glasses is when the moon is entirely blocking the sun and only a small ring of light is visible around it. But this will only happen in a narrow geographic path, (the one in the map tagged above), and so most of us need heavy duty eye wear to experience the magic.
The bad news is that your sunglasses won’t cut it, the experts say. Time.com tells of how hundreds of people suffered permanent damage to their eyes during the solar eclipse of 1960. It’s the real deal. Even if your glasses are excessively dark, they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight for your eyes to take in safely and you need to buy ‘eclipse glasses’, to have a peek.
The other bit of bad news is that there are currently evil minds out there selling fake total solar eclipse glasses on Amazon. Watch out who you purchase from and don’t go blind, or suffer damage.
Nasa recommends that you take a look at the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) list of Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard, to keep in the clear.
Unfortunately, many of these dealers are currently out of stock as the demand has been so high, coming up to Monday. Good products are also still available on Amazon.com but know your risks. It’s recommended you do your research on the seller to ensure you’re getting the real deal .
Photo credits: kdshutterman/Bigstock; sevenozz/Bigstock