If you're anything like us, you're super excited about the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st. We asked our residing astronomy buff, Dave Nimrod (our Senior Network Administrator) for all the details so we could enjoy the eclipse from our office. Dave loves eclipses so much that he is traveling to North Carolina to view the eclipse in the path of totality (where the Sun is 100% covered by the moon.)
This will be an extra special eclipse for Dave because he will be viewing it with his father and sister who are traveling from Alabama and Minnesota. Dave says that his Dad's love for astronomy inspired that same love in his own heart. In 1979, Dave's dad worked for New Mexico State University's Physical Science Lab, which partnered with NASA to document the 1979 solar eclipse. He traveled to Canada with NASA for a few months to document the eclipse, but since he was responsible for the hardware, his father didn't actually get to view the eclipse himself. Needless to say, Dave and his father are extremely excited to get to actually watch this eclipse together.
Take a glimpse at Dave's recommendations here before you decide how to safely view the eclipse yourself:
- For direct viewing be sure to use ISO 12312-2 standard glasses approved by an accredited testing lab to view the eclipse. If you do not wear eclipse glasses, you may not realize your eyes are being burned because it will not seem bright. However, you can do irreversible damage to your eyes by staring into the eclipse without glasses, even for a few moments. Sunglasses are not enough protection during an eclipse. For a list of reputable vendors of eclipse glasses, click here.
- Be extra careful with children! If you tell a child not to look, they usually decide to take a peek anyway. Obtain a pair of approved glasses to protect their vision, or allow them to view the eclipse using an indirect method (not staring directly at it.) For ways to experience the eclipse indirectly, read this article.
- While wearing your eclipse glasses, do not look at the Sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. The rays will damage the filter on the glasses, causing permanent harm to your vision.
- We can expect to see an 80% eclipse from our office in Willards, MD. Since we are not in the path of totality, the sun will never be completely covered; therefore, it is NEVER safe to view the eclipse without approved glasses.
- For free eclipse tracking, download the Smithsonian Eclipse 2017 app. It will use your location to determine just how much of the eclipse you will see and when. The app also has a free Viewing and Safety Guide.
- The NASA Wallops Island Visitor's Center is hosting a Solar Eclipse Viewing Event for anyone interested in attending. Here is the link to view more information!
Dave has told every one of our employees just how cool this is going to be, so we are all excited to view the eclipse. Our agency bought enough eclipse glasses for each employee to have a pair, so we will be watching safely on Monday! We hope you enjoy it too!