Stay safe watching Monday’s eclipse

Join thousands of Americans this coming Monday, August 21 and get outside to see the solar eclipse! Stevens County’s prime time for viewing will be convenient for most – with the eclipse starting around 11:30 a.m. and ending around 2:20 p.m. The best time to see the eclipse – for southwest Kansans – should be around 12:55 p.m. The sun is projected to be 86% eclipsed at the max point.

A total solar eclipse in the United States is nothing to sneeze at – the last one took place in 1979. This year’s promises to be the most-watched eclipse in human history. You’re encouraged to get out and take a look – but please remember to be safe! If you don’t heed warnings, you’re risking severe optical injury!

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 handheld solar viewers.

Instructions for Safe Use of Solar Filters/Viewers

• ALWAYS inspect your solar filter before use: if scratched, punctured, torn or otherwise damaged, discard it.
Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
 supervise children using solar filters.
• If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
• Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun.
After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter.
DO NOT remove it while looking at the sun.
DO NOT look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device.
• Similarly, DO NOT look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer – the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.
• Outside the path of totality, you must ALWAYS use a safe solar filter to look at the sun directly.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is indirectly via pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse; you’ll see the ground dappled with crescent suns project by the tiny spaces between the leaves.

To find out more about the solar eclipse August 21, please click here. You’ll find all kinds of information, including a map showing your exact location’s eclipse-viewing projections!

Happy viewing!