Parents and kids learn how to view the upcoming solar eclipse safely

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 13, 2017

It will appear as an upward-pointing arc, like the top of a fingernail. Normally during daylight conditions, the iris contracts so that only a small amount of light passes through the lens and then reaches the retina. The path of totality - the 70-mile wide area that will experience the most complete periods of darkness - stretches from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.

When should I look for it? For example, in West Liberty's zipcode (26074), the eclipse will begin around 1:09 p.m., with the peak of the eclipse coming at exactly 2:34 p.m. and 45 seconds when the moon covers 82.5 percent of the sun, as you can see in the graphic. The eclipse will end at 3:50 p.m.

If you're staying in the Boston area, Schneider said the eclipse will feel like going outside when the sun is covered by very thin clouds - a definite dimming, but not almost as drastic as it will be within the path. The path of totality will not cross the Golden Triangle, but should lead to another partial eclipse for the area. This particular eclipse is a partial eclipse as viewed from New England. In addition, that evening at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS and WHTJ PBS, NOVA will broadcast "Eclipse Over America", featuring same-day footage shot by PBS stations across the country.

Visitors to The Children Museum in West Hartford will be able to view the partial solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, through a specially-equipped telescope.

If you plan on watching the eclipse, you need to be prepared to watch it safely.

Remember official glasses are approved by the American Astronomical Society. NASA shares several ways to make homemade eclipse viewers here, here, here and here. Take a time-lapse photo series of the scenery as the light dims with the smartphone secured on a tripod or other mounting so that you can watch the eclipse while your camera photographs the scenery. The last coast-to-coast eclipse was in 1918, and after this one, the next won't come until 2045.

Of course, most of those eclipses aren't visible from the United States. In anticipation of the looming total solar eclipse on August 21, Pettit posted the footage online this week, which he spotted while working in space in May 2012, and you can see it below. That eclipse took a somewhat similar path as this month's will, from OR to Florida.

The innermost part of the corona is undetectable by spacecraft cameras, but is visible by the human eye during the total solar eclipse, according to Bryan Mendez, a campus astronomer. Outside of this path, observers will see a partial eclipse. The 2045 eclipse will track from northern California to Florida.

"We never had this data because this doesn't happen very often - that the path is crossing land mass for this long of time", said Dr. Han Uitenbroeck, the director of the National Solar Observatory in New Mexico. It will last a little over two hours, during which time the Moon will fully transit across the face of the Sun.

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