On Monday, August 21 the continent of North America will experience a solar eclipse, the first time in 38 years.
By Melissa Anderson
Cavalier County and the rest of North Dakota will see a partial eclipse of the sun with the moon obscuring about 75 percent of the sun according to the projected track. The partial solar eclipse will peak at roughly 12:56 p.m. in Langdon and the rest of Cavalier County.
The eclipse will be visible to varying degrees in every state of United States, with some lucky states experiencing a total solar eclipse. This is when the moon completely covers the sun. A total of 14 states in the continental U.S. along a 70-mile-wide path of the country will experience a total eclipse of the sun.
Over 300 million people will have the opportunity to view this astrological event and with that comes concern. Organizations from NASA to the American Academy of Optometry want everyone who will witness this celestial phenomenon to do so safely.
“While NASA isn’t trying to be the eclipse safety glasses ‘police,’ it’s our duty to inform the public about safe ways to view what should be a spectacular sky show for the entire continental United States,” said Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s important that individuals take the responsibility to check that they have the proper solar eclipse viewing glasses. It’s prudent to practice ahead of time.”
It’s common sense not to stare directly at the Sun with your naked eyes or risk damaging your vision, and that advice holds true for a partially eclipsed sun as well. Only with special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, can the sun be safely viewed directly.
NASA recommends that people who plan to view the eclipse should check the safety authenticity of viewing glasses to ensure they meet basic proper safety viewing standards.
When viewing the eclipse NASA and the medical community provide the following tips to enjoy the phenomenon safely:
• Be sure that eclipse glasses have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard.
If the eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through them for as long as you wish.
• Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
• If viewing the eclipse with children be sure to supervise their solar filter use at all times.
• Do not use homemade or d.i.y. filters.
• Ordinary sunglasses – even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers.
• If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
• Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.
• 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, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
Wondering where you can get the certified eclipse glasses? Your local CHS location has you covered as they will be providing eclipse glasses to residents at all CHS locations, available starting August 16. Be sure to pick yours up as soon as possible as the supply is limited.
If you are unable to procure eclipse glasses before the big event there are alternative methods for safe viewing of the partially-eclipsed sun through the use of pinhole projectors. With this method, sunlight streams through a small hole – such as a pencil hole in a piece of paper, or even the space between your fingers – onto a makeshift screen, such as a piece of paper or the ground. It’s important to only watch the projected image on the screen, not the sun itself.
A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.
Safety information for viewing the eclipse was provided courtesy of NASA.