Turn Around, Bright Eyes: How to View August’s Solar Eclipse

How do you organize an eclipse party? You plan-et!


This Monday, August 21, a solar eclipse is will be visible to all of North America. This means the moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun. Don’t panic. It’s totally to be expected and not at all a sign of the end times. And just so you’re prepared, here are some handy guides to get you ready for the big day.

Where to View

The total eclipse passes over a narrow (70 miles wide) band across the country stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. You can still see a partial eclipse even if you’re not in this “path of totality.” In Washington, D.C., for example, 81% of the Sun will be covered.  TIME has a great visualization tool to help you see when you can see the eclipse and what it will look like from any place in the US.

How to View

DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. I repeat: do not look directly at the Sun, even if the Sun is partially blocked. (You can look at it only in the brief time the Sun is totally blocked, but this is applicable only to people in the path of totality.)  Do not use dark sunglasses, and definitely do not look at it through a camera lens. NASA has a great website that lists all the ways you can safely view this event. If you’re ordering eclipse glasses from a website, make sure they’re from a list of pre-approved vendors. There are a number of companies out there who are promising glasses that are “just as safe” as the NASA approved ones… but don’t fall for them. Because vendors are quickly selling out of these glasses, you might consider attending an eclipse watching party at a local library or museum. (You could also create your own pinhole camera!)

We wish you a safe and happy Eclipse 2017. Enjoy!


Leave a Reply