Solar eclipse eye safety

Safety | Total Solar Eclipse 2017 - Total Solar Eclipse 2017 - NASA

In case you weren't aware, there's a pretty major natural phenomenon set to pass over the United States later this month, a total solar eclipse.

Cardboard frames for solar-eclipse glasses are stacked in the American Paper Optics factory Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Bartlett, Tenn.

For anyone planning to view the spectacle directly, NASA recommends using eclipse viewing glasses to limit the damage a solar eclipse can cause to the eyes.

But what if you are stuck in work that whole time, or something else is keeping you inside?

Millions are gearing up to see the total solar eclipse across the country. Just be sure you have Bonnie Tyler queued up and ready to go. The path of totality will start in OR before making its way across the country; it will cut through 14 states in total, finally finishing up in SC.

Ask a friend or relative to make a simple drawing that explains a solar eclipse. It ignores two other factors that shorten the visibility time of total solar eclipses: the increase in the sun's size due to changes in its interior structure and the gradual change in the shape of the moon's orbit. The following list are those states along its path and thus, most directly impacted: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and SC.

Solar eclipses occur when our moon gets between the sun and our planet, obscuring the sun temporarily. Notice in the diagram how the moon's shadow appears to come to a focus right at earth's surface; this is called the umbral shadow. Totality comes to the city at 2:46 p.m., lasting about 1 minutes and 31 seconds.

Hawley, a physics and astronomy professor and the director of engineering physics at the University of Kansas, advised booking any travel tickets and hotel reservations way ahead of time and to expect plenty of traffic on the road. However, experts warn the market is flooded with counterfeit filtered glasses and viewers labeled with that compliance standard.

- Never use homemade filters - such as potato chip bags, smoked glass, exposed film, DVDs or "space blankets" - and don't try viewing through any ordinary sunglasses.

More than 6,800 libraries across the country are distributing safety-certified glasses for the August 21 eclipse, with many collaborating with scientists to hold viewing events and activities before and during the event.

"It's something you remember your entire life, and you will tell stories to your grandchildren about it", Espenak added.

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