The solar eclipse is just 10 days away, but we are still getting lots of questions from viewers. I’m going to tackle the most frequently asked questions for you here.
When is it?
The eclipse occurs on August 21. It will begin here at 12:57pm EDT. It will be at the midpoint, or maximum eclipse, at 2:22pm. It ends at 3:45pm when the moon moves completely out of the sun’s way. We’ve been hearing a lot about the total solar eclipse that lasts for 2 minutes, but let me clear this up: It will not be a total eclipse here in Michiana, and it doesn’t just last 2 minutes. It will be a partial eclipse, and the whole thing takes almost 3 hours. The moon does not completely cover the sun from our vantage point. The total eclipse occurs over a 70 mile wide band from Oregon to South Carolina, which does not include Indiana. Here in Michiana the sun will be about 88% covered by the moon.
Do I really need to use special glasses, is the sun really going to damage my eyes?
Yes. You need to use some sort of special protection for your eyes, whether it be eclipse glasses, or shade #14 welder’s glass. Here’s why: Looking at the sun, even for 20-30 seconds, can damage your retina. It’s called solar retinopathy, and it’s like a sunburn on your retina, and causes spots in your vision that may or may not go away.
I have had people ask about sunglasses, and even 3D glasses. NO! You would need about 70 pairs of sunglasses stacked up to provide enough protection for your eyes!
How can I watch without the glasses?
The easiest way to watch safely if you don’t have the eclipse glasses is to use a pinhole projector. It’s really easy, just punch a small hole in a sturdy piece of paper (like card stock, or even an index card). With the sun behind you, hold up the card and then project the image of the sun onto a piece of white poster board, or a white sheet on the ground, or even onto a wall.
You will notice in the shadows of tree leaves that the light spaces in between the leaves will show a bunch of tiny eclipses, acting like a bunch of pinhole projectors in one area.
Where do I get the eclipse glasses?
Locally, they have been available at Lowe’s, Walmart and 7-11, all of which should have approved, certified glasses, but I would recommend calling first to make sure they still have them in stock. Also, a number of local libraries are holding programs and viewing parties, and will have a limited supply of free eclipse glasses available. You can find that list here: Eclipse programs and viewing parties around Michiana
You can also try Amazon, but make sure that delivery will reach you before the eclipse. Make sure that the glasses you buy are ISO certified. Only a handful of manufacturers have been approved to make them. Read this before you order anything online: earthsky.org/human-world/how-to-know-your-eclipse-glasses-are-safe