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  • Austin Warren

4 ways to view the 2024 total solar eclipse from campus

On Monday, April 8th, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross over much of the United States, eastern Canada, and northern Mexico.

For the first time since 2017, the moon and sun will converge in the sky and briefly turn day into night for millions in North America—but while this celestial event is sure to be spectacular, it bears as much potential for harm as it does for awe.

Dr. Jon Saderholm, Associate Professor of Education Studies and Director of the Yahng Discovery Center, says that there are “significant risks” involved with looking at the eclipse without the proper equipment. When the moon passes over the sun before the eclipse’s totality—when the sun and moon fully overlap—it simultaneously restricts and intensifies the light from the sun, and our eyes are not capable of reacting to the intensity of light as it reacts to the amount of it. As a result, looking at the eclipse before and after totality with the naked eye can cause serious eye injury, as well as temporary or permanent blindness.

Image courtesy of Nat Gopalswamy and NASA

Fortunately, there are ways of viewing the eclipse safely by using the proper equipment:

1.     Solar Eclipse Glasses

Eclipse glasses that meet international safety standards are able to be purchased online or at retail stores such as Walmart and Ace Hardware, with disposable glasses only costing around two dollars.

2.     Indirect Viewing

The solar eclipse can also be viewed safely via indirect means. By poking a hole in a handheld object, such as a flash card or piece of paper, and shining the light on an opaque surface, the viewer will be able to see the light and shadow cast by the eclipse as it moves into and out of totality.

Image courtesy of Joy Ng and NASA

3.     Physics Department Viewing

In addition, on the day of the eclipse from 1-3pm, the physics department will have solar telescopes—fitted with proper safety measures—on the balcony of the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building just outside of the planetarium.

4.     Livestream

Furthermore, there will be a livestream of the totality displayed in the Yahng Discovery Center, as well as a livestream of the totality as seen from Texas from noon to 1pm, which will be streamed on YouTube and broadcast on public television stations.

According to NASA, the next total solar eclipse that will be visible from North America will be on August 23rd, 2044.

You can learn more about the 2024 total solar eclipse at NASA’s website.

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