Prepare for the Great Eclipse of 2024 with Ten Safety Tips

Get ready for the Great Eclipse of 2024!

On April 8th, the Moon will pass between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on our planet. The total solar eclipse will be visible along a narrow track stretching from Texas to Maine. Within this path, lucky observers will experience the awe-inspiring moment when the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon. In the US, totality will begin in Texas at 1:27 pm CDT and will end in Maine at 3:35 pm EDT on April 8, 2024.

Here’s a map showing the path of the eclipse so you can check the best locations:

If you want to get the total eclipse experience, the closer you are to the blue line on that map, the better. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these areas, gather your supplies and be ready to stay put in your own yard. Millions of people are expected to travel to prime eclipse viewing locations!

Even if you’re not within the path of totality, a partial eclipse will be visible throughout all 48 contiguous U.S. states. However, to see the Sun’s corona in the suddenly darkened sky, you must be at 100% eclipse—inside the path of totality.

Solar Eclipse Safety Tips

1. Use eye protection

If you’re planning to observe the eclipse, it’s important to take precautions to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays that can BLIND YOU. Use solar eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers to view this rare celestial event safely. Make sure they are sold by reputable manufacturers, such as Rainbow Symphony. They will ensure that the glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international standard for eyes-only direct viewing of the sun. Don’t use if they are old, scratched, or damaged in any way. Never look through regular sunglasses, colored soda bottles, cellophane wrappers, film, or anything that is not rated for solar viewing. If you use prescription glasses, wear your eclipse glasses over your prescription eyewear.

2. Observe away from busy roads

Avoid observing the eclipse from busy roads. Instead, find a safe and comfortable location to observe the eclipse.

3. Watch the weather

Check the weather forecast for your location before heading out to observe the eclipse. If it’s cloudy or rainy, you may not be able to see the eclipse clearly.

4. Plan ahead

Plan ahead for traffic, parking, and lodging if you’re traveling to a different location to observe the eclipse. Anticipate higher traffic on highways and increased crowds at tourist destinations. You want to have time to set up and not be rushing there at the last minute.

5. Be prepared for backcountry travel

If you’re planning on observing the eclipse in a remote location, make sure you’re prepared for backcountry travel. Bring enough food, water, and supplies for your trip.

6. Avoid closed parks and monuments

Some parks and monuments may be closed during the eclipse due to safety concerns or high visitor traffic. Local businesses may also be closed. Please plan your eclipse viewing trip accordingly.

7. Respect private property

Be aware of and respect private property lines, including fences, to avoid trespass. Adhere to the outdoor ethics principle, “leave no trace.”

8. Make a pinhole camera

Don’t have any eclipse glasses, or not sure that you want to trust them? You can view an eclipse without looking directly at it by making a pinhole camera to see a projected image. Follow these simple instructions from NASA.

9. Supervise children

Children should be supervised by an adult at all times during the eclipse. Don’t just tell them to stay in their room with the curtains closed. Everyone knows kids don’t always do what they’re told. Our parents told us a sad story about one little girl who peeked and she went blind. You don’t want that to happen!

10. Use solar filters for optics

A solar filter must be attached to the front of your telescope, binoculars, or camera lens. The American Astronomical Society has a list of approved suppliers of safe solar filters. Be sure to read the AAS eclipse safety tips before using solar filters with optics. The same goes for smartphones! Watching a solar eclipse on your smartphone camera can put you at risk of accidentally looking at the sun when trying to line up your camera, so wear your eclipse glasses. The UV rays could also damage your smartphone camera, so put eclipse glasses over the front of your smartphone’s camera lens and hold them or tape them in place. NEVER look at a solar eclipse through the viewfinder (it will burn your eyes)—use the LCD screen.

Be sure to follow these eclipse safety tips to view this rare celestial event safely. REMEMBER, looking directly at the sun during an eclipse can cause permanent eye damage or blindness. Always use proper eye protection (last I saw, Home Depot was selling eclipse glasses or buy on Amazon unless they’re already sold out online).

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