Image from space.com
This blog has covered astronomy issues before, and I believe space.com has been mentioned in multiple posts, but a certain upcoming event definitely merits another mention. As most of you know, there will be a total solar eclipse coming up on August 21st (read about it here and here, or at your favorite news site).
Most of you also likely know that looking directly at the sun is very bad for your eyes and could even cause blindness. You are likely not alone if you feel that looking at the eclipse is ok, because the moon is covering the sun. This is wrong. Even though the sun will be covered by the moon, it’s still not safe to look directly at the eclipse, due to the corona of the sun still visible around the edges of the eclipse. This is the outer layer of the sun and is more than capable of damaging your eyes. So how may you view the eclipse safely and completely?
Space.com has a complete guide to the eclipse, including best viewing practices here: Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely). They bill this page as “…information about where and when to see it, how long it lasts, what you can expect to see, and how to plan ahead to ensure you get the most out of this incredible experience.”
They wisely let the readers know about the risks of sun exposure even during this eclipse: “REMEMBER: Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection . See our complete guide to find out how to view the eclipse safely. ”.
Many public libraries are giving away free glasses with which you may safely view the eclipse, and other libraries may have some later in July. With these glasses one may safely view the eclipse and the rarely seen corona of the sun, mentioned above. If you live in Memphis there are no libraries yet giving away the glasses, but the system is on a waiting list to receive some. Stay tuned, you may be able to receive some glasses soon, Memphians.
Here is a picture of the path of the solar eclipse: