Stay Safe on Monday for the Solar Eclipse
The 2017 total solar eclipse. It’s the event of a lifetime that has everyone buzzing.
Monday morning, thousands of people will flock to the path of totality — areas that will experience the moon entirely blocking the sun. The northeast tip of Georgia is part of this path!
The entire state will experience a partial eclipse between about 1 and 4 p.m. In the path of totality, there will be about a 3-minute window in which the eclipse is total and the sun is completely hidden.
If you’re not in the path of totality, don’t be discouraged. All parts of Georgia will experience some level of eclipse. Find the timing and percent of sun coverage in your area with NASA’s interactive map.
How to Safely View the Eclipse
Whether you’re attending an event or just looking through your office window, safety is the primary concern. Looking directly at the sun without the proper equipment can cause permanent eye damage or even blindness.
Are My Glasses Safe?
One of the most popular ways of viewing the eclipse is through specially-designed “eclipse glasses.” How do you know if your glasses will really protect your eyes from the sun’s dangerous rays? Due to reports of counterfeit glasses on the market, an official-looking label on the glasses themselves in not enough.
The most sure-fire way to know is to check the American Astronomical Society’s list of reputable vendors. At this point, most vendors are sold out, but if you already have glasses or filter, check this list to see if you bought them from an approved seller.
Otherwise, when looking through true eclipse glasses, you should only be able to see the sun itself or something nearly as bright, like a sunglint on shiny metal. Through your glasses, the sun should be comfortable to look at and surrounded by a dark sky. Anything else should be very dim.
What If I Don’t Have Glasses?
If you haven’t purchased glasses and still want to experience Monday’s eclipse, you have options!
One of the easiest ways to view the eclipse is indirectly with a pinhole camera. All you need to do is poke a small hole in a piece of paper. Let the light shine through that hole onto a plain surface, like another piece of paper on the ground. Or, simply cross the fingers of one hand over the other and hold them in front of you, facing away from the sun. In either case, find the shadow of the paper or your fingers and observe the light coming through them — each spot of light is a projection of the sun! As the moon crosses in front of the sun, you’ll see the crescent of light getting smaller in your projection.
Other Safety Concerns
Even with the right equipment, you need to be careful. Here are a few more safety tips:
- Inspect Your Filters
Before using your glasses or viewer, check for scratches or other damage; if you find any, discard them.
- Wear and Remove Glasses Properly
Put on your glasses while looking away from the sun. And when you finish, look away again to take them off. Only look at the sun without glasses during totality when it’s suddenly dark. And if you’re outside the path of totality, always use a filter to view the sun.
- Use Filters for Optical Devices
If you plan to view the eclipse through a telescope, binoculars, or camera use an approved filter for that device. Proper solar filters will attached to the front — not the eyepiece — of your telescope, binoculars, or camera lens. Don’t look through unfiltered devices, even if you’re wearing your glasses or using a handheld viewer; the sun rays will intensify and damage the viewer and your eyes.
- Supervise Children
Always supervise children using solar filters or otherwise enjoying the eclipse.
- Wear Sunscreen
The eclipse event will last for a few hours in the early afternoon. Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher at least every 2 hours.
When in doubt, ask an expert.
Plan Your Trip
If you’re driving through northeast Georgia this Saturday through Monday, expect heavy traffic and potential delays. Make sure you set out with a plan, a full tank of gas, and a few snacks for the road. And leave home with plenty of time to spare!
And as you’re driving around, remember that parking on the shoulder of Georgia State Routes, US Routes, and Interstates is not legal or safe. Make sure to exit the roadway and park in a safe area before viewing the eclipse.
The Georgia Department of Transportation will work with local law enforcement to keep the roads safe. If you run into problems on the road, call 5-1-1 to reach HERO and CHAMP operators from the Department of Transportation.
Remember, the sky will darken during the eclipse, so turn on your headlights if you’re driving. And of course, don’t look at the sun or use eclipse glasses while driving.
Call 5-1-1, view the Department of Transportation’s online traffic map, or download the Georgia 511 mobile app for real-time travel information.