Monday’s solar eclipse is a rare event that many are excited to experience. Though the event is bringing people together across the country, viewing the eclipse should be done so with precaution and is concerning enough that some local school districts are taking the day off.
According to NASA scientists, everyone in North America will be in the path of the eclipse, at least partially. Those in the path of totality will experience a total eclipse of the sun; while, others will still get to experience a partial eclipse. In fact, a partial eclipse will be viewable from parts of South America, Africa and Europe.
Ohio will only see a partial eclipse, but those just a little farther south will see complete coverage of the sun. States within the path of totality include Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina.
Monday’s eclipse will occur as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, blocking out sun light either totally or partially. A solar eclipse can last up to up to three hours. However, the upcoming celestial event will only block the sun in any given location for a period lasting up to two minutes and 40 seconds. The path of totality will be approximately 70 miles wide, while the path of the partial eclipse will be obviously much larger. The eclipse will first touch Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. and will end in Charleston, S.C., at 2:48 p.m.
Those wishing to view the eclipse should know that NASA warns against looking directly at the sun without proper eye protection. In fact, it is looking directly at the sun that makes eclipse viewing dangerous. A person can look without protective eye wear once the eclipse is at totality, meaning the sun is fully covered by the moon. Those only experiencing a partial eclipse should never view without protection.
Protection is available through varied solar filters including eclipse glasses. Viewers should not attempt to observe the eclipse through unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Even when wearing eclipse glasses, rays from the sun can be magnified by such devices and thus will still enter the eye. Do not remove eclipse glasses while looking at the sun except during a full eclipse. And, NASA warns to replace those glasses as soon as the sun begins to reappear.
“An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won’t want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures,” the American Astronomical Society warns. “Don’t let the requisite warnings scare you away from witnessing this singular spectacle! You can experience the eclipse safely, but it is vital that you protect your eyes at all times with the proper solar filters. No matter what recommended technique you use, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and give your eyes a rest! Do not use sunglasses: they don’t offer your eyes sufficient protection. The only acceptable glasses are safe viewers designed for looking at the sun and solar eclipses.”
The eclipse can also be viewed indirectly. Excited eclipse spectators can create a pinhole projector that will show a shadow of the eclipse. Easily made, such projectors can be constructed with an old cereal box, some aluminum foil, tape, scissors and a pin for hole punching. Various versions of the projector, also called an eclipse viewer can be found online with instructors and how-to videos.
With the eclipse coinciding with the start of school, some area districts have decided to push off their start dates as a result of safety concerns.
With the recommendation from Superintendent Todd Jenkins, Northwest School District has decided to move the first day of classes from Monday to Tuesday, Aug. 22. This decision was made for the safety of students and staff.
Washington-Nile students started on Aug. 16; however, they too will be taking Monday off.
“Due to safety concerns regarding the upcoming solar eclipse, all Washington-Nile Local Schools will be closed for Monday, Aug. 21st. Normal classes will resume Tuesday, Aug. 22nd,” the school website states.
Schools in Piketon and Greenup Co., Ky. Have also delayed their Monday starts until Tuesday. New Boston Local Schools are still scheduled to start Monday with a two-hour early dismissal.
Valley, Minford, Green, will be on regular schedule to start Tuesday. Wheelersburg and Portsmouth City Schools will start Wednesday.
For more information about eclipse safety or for instructions on building a pinhole projector, follow eclipse news at eclipse2017.nasa.gov.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.