On Monday, a partial eclipse will be visible in every state. A total solar eclipse, which is when the moon completely covers the sun, will occur across 14 states in the continental U.S. While parts of south western Kentucky are in the path of totality, central Kentucky will experience about 96% coverage.
People across the country are scrambling to get the necessary items to watch the eclipse safely, especially since the recall of thousands of glasses. For those of you who are wondering if your glasses are safe or are scouring the area for new glasses here are a few tips for making sure the glasses you use are adequate.
Eclipse glasses should:
- Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
- Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
- Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
- Not use homemade filters
Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers
It’s important to test the safety of your glasses before the time of the eclipse. If you look through your glasses and the sun is too bright, out of focus, surrounded by a murky haze, or if you can see things like ordinary household lights, the glasses aren’t safe.
If you plan on watching the eclipse through a camera, a telescope or binoculars, buy a solar filter to place on the end of the lens. Do not wear eclipse glasses while looking through any of these as the concentrated light from the optics will go right through the filters on the eclipse glasses and cause severe injury to the eye.
Because central Kentucky is not in the path of totality it is not safe to look at the eclipse without your glasses at any point. Although it may look like the sun is completely covered, the four or so percent that isn’t covered can damage the naked eye.
An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially-eclipsed sun is with a pinhole projector. With this method, sunlight streams through a small hole onto a screen, such as a piece of paper or the ground. Making a pinhole projector is simple, affordable, and fool proof.
- 2 pieces of stiff white cardboard, e.g. 2 paper plates
- alternatively, 2 sheets of plain white paper
- a thumbtack, sharp pin, or needle
What to Do:
- To make a quick version of the pinhole projector, take a sheet of paper and make a tiny hole in the middle of it using a pin or a thumbtack. Make sure that the hole is round and smooth.
- With your back towards the Sun, hold 1 piece of paper above your shoulder allowing the sun to shine on the paper.
- The 2nd sheet of paper will act as a screen. Hold it at a distance, and you will see an inverted image of the Sun projected on the paper screen through the pinhole.
- To make the image of the sun larger, hold the screen paper further away from the paper with the pinhole.
Remember to always keep your back towards the sun while looking at a pinhole projection and never look at the sun through the pinhole!
If for some reason you can’t make it outside to watch the eclipse NASA will be streaming it live on their website. https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive