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Solar Eclipse August 21st, 2017

solar eclipse


The 2017 solar eclipse will take place on August 21.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth. The area of the Earth shaded by the outer shadow of the moon (penumbra) experiences a partial eclipse; the area shaded by the central shadow (umbra) experiences a total eclipse.

From beginning to end, the eclipse will be visible for about two and a half to three hours, depending on where in the U.S. you are viewing the phenomenon. The maximum level of the eclipse ("totality"), however, lasts only a minute or two.

On the West Coast, the 2017 solar eclipse will begin around 9:06 AM and end around 11:41 AM (Pacific time; Madras OR). On the East Coast, it will begin around 1:03 PM and conclude around 4:06 PM (Eastern time; Columbia SC).

For more specific timing, visit the NASA interactive eclipse map  to find the specific location where you plan to observe the eclipse. Click on a spot on one of the maps, and an informational box will appear with specific times.

States included in this roughly 70-mile-wide "band of totality" include Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality.

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” (example shown at left) or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight. Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers  page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.

  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
  • solar eclipse protective sunglassesDo not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
  • Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
  • Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.
  • If you are within the path of totality ( ), remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
  • Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

Regular sunglasses, polarized sunglasses or photochromic lenses do not offer adequate eye protection when watching a solar eclipse.

Though these lenses provide 100 percent UV protection during general wearing conditions, the special-purpose solar filters used in genuine eclipse glasses are thousands of times darker than ordinary sunglasses to protect the eyes from the intense visible sunlight that can cause a serious retinal injury or even blindness when viewing the sun directly.