A Checklist for the Solar Eclipse

posted by Alan McBride -

Monday afternoon brings a momentous event for the U.S. 

It's a rare one, and one you'll not want to miss.A total eclipse of the sun is crossing the continental United States, with a path taking it from the northwest coast to the southeast.

In Florida, the eclipse will not be total. Coverage will be 91 percent of totality in the northernmost part of the state to 78 percent in the southernmost part of the state.The partial eclipse should begin in the 1:00 hour, Eastern Time, with the maximum solar disc being covered roughly three-quarters of the way through the 2:00 hour Eastern Time.

The eclipse is following a track similar to the solar eclipse of 1918, so you can see that there can be a long wait between events like this.

There have been solar eclipses since then, partial and annular, which have been visible over much of the U.S.

There have even been a few total solar eclipses that have been visible in a handful of states.

But this will be the first one in close to a century that has crossed over the continental U.S., coast to coast.With that in mind, you'll want to be properly prepared for the event.

First, get your solar viewing eye protection.

Staring directly at the sun can damage your eyes, even during a solar eclipse, and sunglasses are not sufficient protection.

So plan on using one of the following for safe solar viewing: Special solar filter glasses, Pinhole cameras, or welder’s goggles with a rating of 14 or higher.

Next, plan your viewing celebration.Whether you want to step out for a quick glimpse or observe the eclipse throughout its entirety, having a plan will ensure you get to the right place at the right time.

Science centers, museums, libraries, and other venues are planning public viewing locations. In some cases, solar viewing glasses will be handed out ... on a first come first served basis.

These facilities also may plan special demonstrations to teach people more about the solar eclipse. 

Also, be sure to pack sunscreen, water and anything else you might need for an afternoon outdoors. 

The sun may dim for a few moments, but it's still the sun. Treat the afternoon the same way you would treat any summer afternoon in Florida.

And, be "camera-ready" for the event.

Regardless of whether you want to capture the event using a camera phone or a digital camera, it's important to know how to use your device properly and safely for this type of photography. 

NASA offers some helpful tips on making the most of your smartphone photos during the solar eclipse. In fact, NASA is a one-stop shop for all of your eclipse questions or needs.

The space agency, which has been preparing for this event for a long time, has a special site set up and ready to go.

You can find out here: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

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