Saturday, March 18, 2017

Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

We are less than 6 months away from the eclipse, so I thought that this was as good a time as any to review eye safety details with you. 
Here is the most important thing to remember from this post: anytime the sun is not covered at all, or partially covered (even including 99%!) you MUST use proper methods AND proper materials to PROTECT your eyes. However, if you are in this path of totality: 

then DURING THE TOTAL PHASE ONLY, WHEN THE SUN IS COMPLETELY BLOCKED, it is COMPLETELY SAFE to look at the sun directly without any protection. If you try to use eye safety protection during totality, you'll miss the best part!
When the sun returns, you MUST go back to the proper eye safety methods and materials. 
So, how do you keep your eyes safe before and after the eclipse, as well as during the partial eclipse (or partial phases before and after totality)?
Well, I'll just let eclipse chasers who are more experienced at this tell you:
Viewing tips (credit American Astronomical Society) (see podcast #11 for eye safety tips)

Safe viewing products
(this is not necessarily an endorsement- but all of the people/company that run these sites are experienced in eclipses):

Also do note that you can get a #14 welder's filter-  make sure it is glass or polycarbonate WITH gold coating; the polycarbonate ones WITHOUT gold coating may not be safe.

Remember, from the links above, you can always turn your back to the sun and project the sun’s image onto a lightly colored surface to watch the partial phases of the eclipse.

Make sure you study these links, and make sure you obtain and know how to use this eye safety equipment- keep your eyes safe.

The above assumes that you are using just your eyes. You can certainly view the eclipse with magnified instruments- binoculars, telescopes, etc.- but the same rules apply- USE PROPER PROTECTION DURING THE PARTIAL PHASES (including 99%; before and after totality); NO PROTECTION IS NEEDED DURING TOTALITY. 

If you plan to view the eclipse with magnified viewing, please comment here or email me at – there are some extra tips I would like to give.

As a final note- make sure that you are paying attention to the other changes that are happening around you as the eclipse deepens! 

If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or email me at

Happy (and safe!) eclipse viewing!

Friday, January 13, 2017

A total eclipse- with a 360 degree view!

So this is a really impressive total eclipse video that I found. It was filmed in Indonesia at the total eclipse in March 2016. Sure, it has the incredible rush of darkness and cheering people that are on the other eclipse videos I’ve featured on this blog. But what makes this video different is that it’s a 360 degree video- meaning that you can take your cursor or use your phone to pan around the horizon. Notice the reactions of the people, the changing light in all directions, and the 360 degree sunset during totality!

Quite amazing- but it still doesn’t compare to the real experience! A total solar eclipse happens all around you!
(credit to 360 Thrill)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Radio Interview with an Eclipse Chaser

I’ve posted videos and stories here before, and I've done that here today. The intention of posting these videos and stories is to inspire you to go see next August’s total solar eclipse for yourself- or to spread the word to others (especially those who live in or near the shadow path). 

This video is an interview conducted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation with David Makepeace. David is a Canadian filmmaker who saw his first total solar eclipse in 1991- and has been hooked ever since. Since that day, he has seen 15 total solar eclipses all over the world.

See his website at
Not everyone becomes addicted to seeing multiple total solar eclipses as David has, but you can hear from this interview why it’s worth traveling to the path of totality at least once in your life! Since the one next August happens relatively close to home- why not consider making a trip to see this one?
Listen especially from 2:00-3:51- at the end of that sequence, he uses the words “emotionally overwhelming” to describe the sight of totality. A total solar eclipse is not just for the astronomers- everyone should experience one!