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The Ultimate Open Space Event

2008, solar eclipse at the point of totality, when the moon completely blocks out the body of the sun, revealing the normally hidden, halo-like corona. A similar eclipse is expected across most of the U.S. on August 21. Massachusetts will only experience 63 percent coverage. But no matter, viewers should purchase specifically designed glasses to view the event to protect their eyes. The Exploratorium photo



The ultimate open space event will take place, in outer space, on the afternoon of August 21. The moon will move between the sun and the earth, keeping the light of the sun from reaching us on earth causing an eclipse. There are parts of the United States where there will be a total eclipse, with the moon blocking the sun entirely. While not a total eclipse in Massachusetts, at 63 percent coverage it should still prove to be an amazing event. However, looking at it without proper eye protection can damage the eyes and even cause blindness. Here are some safety tips to help you enjoy this event safely. 

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is with a solar filter, such as "eclipse glasses" or solar viewers designed specially for viewing the sun. Ordinary sunglasses do not offer sufficient protection, nor do welders glasses.

Solar glasses and viewers must meet safety standards compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. If you have eclipse-viewing glasses which pre-date the 2015 adoption of the ISO safety standard, they should be replaced.

If you choose to view the eclipse with these special glasses, purchase them from a reputable source, be certain that they are safe to use and follow the instructions. If they are scratched or otherwise damaged, they are not safe. Unfortunately, sub-standard eclipse glasses have hit the market.

Visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov for a list of vendors selling the approved glasses. The Shrewsbury Public Library and the Worcester Public Library will also hold viewing events and have glasses available.

Viewing the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device with or without eclipse glasses or solar viewer will damage your eyes. The lenses on these devices will concentrate the light to damage the filter and consequently, your eyes.

For more information about the eclipse and safe viewing check these websites: www.theverge.com/2017/8/7/16025284/total-solar-eclipse-2017-date-time-lunar-map-glasses-path; eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety; and www.space.com/35555-total-solar-eclipse-safety-tips.html





NASA has provided this view of the United States during the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, showing the umbra (black oval), penumbra (concentric shaded ovals), and path of totality (red). This version includes images of the Sun showing its appearance in a number of locations, each oriented to the local horizon. The estimated time shown in this photo is the eclipse at 2:30 p.m. EDT. An animated version of this map is available at svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=4314. Ernie Wright visualization




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