By now you’ve probably heard about the total solar eclipse that’s happening next month. Sacramento is just south of the “ideal” path to see the total eclipse, with a magnitude of only about .83, so roughly 83% of the sun will be covered by the moon here. It will begin just after 9am on August 21st, and peak at 10:17-ish. It will be completely finished by 11:39. A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, and casts a shadow on the ground. During a total solar eclipse, it actually gets as dark as a regular full moon, only during the day. A weird phenomenon to experience.
The most important part of being safe about the eclipse is to remember not to look directly at the sun. It may seem like a pretty obvious rule, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget when there’s something happening with the sun – our natural instinct is to just look. NASA recommends to look through eclipse glasses, and according to this website, you can buy some from Amazon, like these or these.
NASA does recommend to check for certain certifications on eclipse glasses if you plan to use those to watch. They say that the glasses should:
-Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
-Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
-Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
-Not use homemade filters or be substituted for with ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones — because they are not safe for looking directly at the Sun
NASA says that only during the peak of a total solar eclipse is it safe to use your naked eye to see, but you only have a window of a couple minutes. They have some other ways and tips on how you can view the eclipse if you don’t have glasses, and you can read more about the eclipse and safety details here.