We are just a week away from one of the biggest celestial events in our lifetime. Mid-day on August 21, the first total solar eclipse to cross America since 1918 will occur. This phenomenon is caused by the moon passing directly between the Sun and Earth. While eclipses are relatively common (solar eclipses happening every 18 months or so), this eclipse is different in that a good portion of the US will be in the path of totality during daylight hours – meaning that the moon will completely hide the sun from view. Southern Illinois does lay in the path of totality, but even in Central Illinois, you’ll have an impressive view. We will have a larger view of the atmosphere of the sun during the eclipse, or the corona. If you can make the trek to see the sun from the path of totality – do it!
We all obviously know not to stare into the sun – it could be catastrophic for your vision health. If you want to enjoy this phenomenon fully, be sure to take some precautions. If you want specifics on the science behind eclipse safety, NASA has thorough resources. There are plenty of things to keep in mind while enjoying the solar eclipse.
- Never look at the sun without eye protection. It can’t be emphasized enough. The damage you may cause to your eyes could be irreversible. Why risk it?
- Don’t look at the sun, uneclipsed or partially, through unfiltered cameras or other viewing devices like binoculars or telescopes.
- Utilize solar eclipse glasses when viewing a celestial event. Sunglasses are not strong enough to protect your vision during an eclipse.
- A welder’s helmet may be an option as well – but make sure it is up to code. Shade 12 or higher is sufficient, but not all Welder’s glasses/helmets provide that much protection.
- If you normally use glasses, leave them on for this event and put eclipse glasses over them.
- Be sure to inspect your solar filter in your protective eye wear or if placed over a lens (telescope, camera) – if its scratched or damaged, you should replace it.
- Make sure your eclipse glasses meet safety standards. Some glasses purchased on Amazon are being refunded as they do not meet minimum safety requirements. Look out for an ISO rating on your glasses – more than just the ISO logo which even illegitimate glasses may print on their side.
- Perhaps most importantly, supervise children viewing the eclipse and make sure they leave their eye protection on at all times – their eyes are even more sensitive than an adults.
- If you still have concerns, don’t hesitate to speak with your eye doctor for more information.
If you’re unable to go outside to enjoy this event, NASA will be live-streaming the event so you don’t have to miss a thing! In the Peoria area, the moon will start to cover the sun around 11:50AM, with maximum coverage at 1:18pm. If possible, please take a step outside to enjoy this amazing event. You don’t have to take our word for it – eclipse chasers can vouch for what a breath-taking experience enjoying these events can be.