A total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. A “total” solar eclipse is when the orbit of the moon passes entirely in front of the sun. In the Livingston County area, residents will be able to see an 80 percent eclipse of the sun beginning at 1 p.m. and ending around 4 p.m. on this day. The Livingston County Health Department is reminding residents to take care of their eyes if they choose to observe this spectacular event.
As the eclipse begins, the sun will disappear and it will appear darker outside. However, the little slivers of sunlight that peak out from around the moon are dangerous and can damage the eye. Remember:
• Slivers of sunlight glow just as brightly as on a day there is not a solar eclipse
• Even quick little glances add up
• Sun damage to the eye might not be obvious right away
To protect your eyes, wear eye protection for the entire time you view the solar eclipse. The only time it is safe to watch with the naked eye is during the brief window of “totality”, when the sun is completely blocked by the moon. But “totality” will only be visible from a ribbon of land that stretches across the central U.S. The rest of the country, including Livingston County, will only see a partial eclipse and will need eye protection the entire time.
Safe eye protection for a solar eclipse is not just using regular sunglasses. To view a solar eclipse, eyewear needs to be thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses. NASA urges people to buy special eclipse glasses, and do not use makeshift or homemade filters to look at the eclipse directly. Eclipse sunglasses look similar to 3D sunglasses and are made of cardboard. Take special care when wearing and remember these tips:
• Be diligent that the glasses remain covering the eyes completely while watching, especially with children.
• Throw away glasses with damage like scratches or pinholes that allow any light to come through.
• Glasses are not a substitute for a filter on a telescope or binoculars. These devices will need additional filters for safe eclipse viewing.
Another safe viewing option is to look at the eclipse indirectly through a projection of an image of the eclipse onto a flat surface through a device called a pinhole viewer.
For more information about eye safety during a total solar eclipse visit: https://www.nasa.gov/content/eye-safety-during-a-total-solar-eclipse.