Saturday, August 19, 2017

Monday's The Day: The American Eclipse August 21, 2017

So... Monday's the day you've been hearing about for months on social media: The Great American Eclipse.
In case you missed it and need more information, you can check out my earlier post on "all things eclipse." Then you'll be ready for when the sky gets dark on Monday (as most of America will have get to witness at least a partial eclipse). Plus, you can rest assured it's not a dystopian version of Chicken Little & "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

I covered a lot of information last week about the eclipse, but I feel like I needed to do one last PSA on making sure you address the safety issues. An eclipse is a rare natural event, but truly it comes with its own dangers if not handled properly. That's what I get for being a teacher--I've got to dive into and go all "Safety Patrol" on you.
(There, I said it, loudly, yes, I'm screaming. Now go watch this movie.)

There are parameters when it is safer, as the movie showed, and for those I'm going to defer to NASA. The partial eclipse is said to have more intensity, which can lead to more damage. Eclipse glasses have been all the rage in the eclipse hype we've been hearing about all summer. Again, I defer to NASA. I know there's been comments to "make sure your eclipse glasses are safe and NASA approved or certified." I've also heard horror stories online about knock offs out there for the unsuspecting and trusting eclipse watcher.
I feel I can't say that loud enough.

And don't even think that your regular sunglasses offer any sort of protection. THEY DON'T! If you are wearing your regular sunglasses during the eclipse, behave as if you aren't. Because basically, you aren't in those circumstances. DON'T LOOK AT THE SUN! Sunglasses aren't anywhere the same as NASA approved solar glasses!!

I've also got to say this... I am paranoid. Fully. Totally. 100%. I don't trust them (and I don't typically have trust issues to this extreme). Even if they are 100% safe, glasses slip. Kids are careless. The timing might be off. Your eyes are too important. Yes, in this case I'm a complete worrywart to the "Nth" degree! And here's the reason why: I distinctly remember being in elementary school, ready to head out to see my very first eclipse. I also totally remember being warned within an inch of our lives by our teachers to NOT LOOK UP, as we stood outside, waiting our turn to view the partial eclipse through the pinhole box projector. Yes, it was the 1970s. Yes, it's archaic. Yes, technology has changed just a tad since then. But I don't care, I'm still paranoid and enmeshed in my safety zone.

Given all of that... I recommend going old school and making that pinhole projector (sometimes called an eclipse viewer).  Use the video below as your guide or make your own NASA-approved 2D or 3D printable one. Plus then it becomes an at home project to share with your family, not to mention it might even make you nostalgic.

OK... Now that I've gotten that all off my chest... here's a couple last minute "nuts and bolts:"
  • Timing: To find out when you can see it in your area, go to this Vox article, scroll down, and enter your zip code. It will give you the time of start, the peak & percentage of sun blockage to expect, and how it will scroll out via a time lapse animation. It can also tell you where the nearest place is from you to see the total eclipse. There's also other good info over there too. Cool stuff. 
  • Live feed: NASA is streaming live video online on Monday, August 21st. Coverage will be 12 noon to 4 pm Eastern Standard Time and will include live coverage at 12 locations via airplanes, 57 high altitude balloons, and ground telescopes. Bookmark this link ahead of time so you'll be on the ready watch, regardless of your device. For those of you in the bunch as paranoid as I am, this might be the perfect way to get an up close and personal view of the magic while it happens.
  • Final Thoughts:  Don't miss it. Take time out of your regular routine and check it out. These things don't come around every day. But whatever you do, remember to be a part of the Safety Patrol with me. Don't make any "blinding" mistakes... pun intended! Go out there and be safe Monday!

Images from; 2017 eclipse track pic from; eclipse timeline from; eclipse viewer video from; eclipse safety 101 video from

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