Editor"s note: The eclipse is here! psychic to usage safe solar eclipse glasses and other equipment throughout the partial phases, and also soak increase the darkness during totality!

We"re just days away from the full solar eclipse that Aug. 21 , and also it"s a good time because that a refresher course on how to safely watch the event. Her parents more than likely told you to never look directly at the sun with her naked eye. In fact, you"ve most likely been told the by several reputable resources (including our own lifwynnfoundation.org). However according come NASA and four other science and medical organizations, it"s OK to look in ~ a total solar eclipse v the nude eye — but only when the challenge of the sun is totally obscured by the moon.

A total solar eclipse happens as soon as the central disk that the sun is totally covered through the moon. Many human being have most likely seen a partial solar eclipse, in i beg your pardon the disk of the moon shows up to take it a bite the end of the sun"s disk however never totally obscures it. However total solar eclipses are a lot rarer sight. And also on Monday, a total solar eclipse will cross the continent U.S. From shore to coast. 

A share statement indigenous NASA and the 4 other establishments says that v the appropriate information, skywatchers deserve to safely see the full solar eclipse in its full glory v the naked eye.

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Anyone in the United states on Aug. 21, 2017, will be able to see at the very least a partial solar eclipse (weather permitting, of course). However only those world in what"s known as the "path that totality" will watch a full solar eclipse. For the Aug. 21 eclipse, the course of totality is about 70 miles broad (112 kilometers), and also extends indigenous Oregon to south Carolina. Depending upon where observers are located, the sun might be totally obscured through the moon for as much as 2 minutes and also 40 seconds.


The course of the complete solar eclipse of 2017. Locations within the path of totality will suffer up come 2 minutes and also 40 seconds of darkness. (Image credit: NASA)

"During those quick moments when the moon fully blocks the sun"s bright face … day will certainly turn right into night, making clearly shows the otherwise concealed solar corona (the sun"s external atmosphere)," according to NASA"s Eclipse website. "Bright stars and also planets will end up being visible together well. This is truly among nature"s many awesome sights."

But in stimulate to view this awesome natural sight, skywatchers have to know how to check out the eclipse safely. In an initiative to notify the public on this topic, NASA, along with the American Astronomical culture (AAS), the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy the Optometry and also the national Science Foundation, have written and also released an informational guide on safe viewing.

Eye protection for looking at the sun

Looking straight at the sun without eye security can cause serious eye damage or blindness. But there are ways come safely observe the sun. Throughout a partial solar eclipse, world often use pinhole cameras to clock the development of the moon across the sun"s surface ar (pinhole cameras are easy to make at home). This is an "indirect" way of observing the sun, due to the fact that the viewer sees only a estimate of the sun and also the moon.

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To watch the sun directly (and safely), use "solar-viewing glasses" or "eclipse glasses" or "personal solar filters" (these space all names for the exact same thing), follow to the safety recommendations from NASA. The "lenses" the solar-viewing glasses room made indigenous special-purpose solar filters the are numerous thousands of times darker than continual sunglasses, follow to stack Fienberg, press officer for the American Astronomical culture (AAS). These glasses room so dark the the face of the sun have to be the just thing visible through them, Fienberg said. Solar-viewing glasses can be used to watch a solar eclipse, or come look because that sunspots ~ above the sun"s surface. 

But beware! NASA and also the AAS recommend that solar-viewing or eclipse glasses accomplish the current international standard: ISO 12312-2. Part older solar-viewing glasses may accomplish previous criter for eye protection, however not the brand-new international standard, Fienberg said.