Star gazers: Use safety when viewing solar eclipse

Published 11:46 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A local astronomer said Monday that proper eye protection is needed for the total solar eclipse later this month.

The total solar eclipse is slated to take place on Mon., Aug. 21, at around 1:30 p.m. CST.

According to NASA, the Earth will cross the shadow of the moon, creating a total solar eclipse. Eclipses happen about every six months, but this eclipse is special. For the first time in almost 40 years, the path of the moon’s shadow passes through the continental United States.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Schuyler Allen, an avid astronomer and his friends, will have a telescope set up at Heritage Park for the eclipse from noon until around 1:30.

Allen said the eclipse is expected to have 83 percent coverage in Atmore.

However, if one is going to view the eclipse, then safety is a priority, he said.

“We’re going to have 20-25 pairs of special glasses from the university in Pensacola,” Allen said. “They’re safe to look at the sun through.”

Allen said the telescope will have a solar filter so viewers can see the eclipse.

Allen suggests a No. 14 welding glass for direct viewing.

Additionally, the National Weather Service recommends using special filtered glasses, which are available online.

There are additional ways to see the eclipse, he said.

“You can take a piece of cardboard and poke hole and put another piece of cardboard under it,” Allen said. “The sun has to be directly over the cardboard.”

Allen said different sized holes can be cut to follow the track of the eclipse.

Allen said it isn’t wise to look at the sun directly during the eclipse because it’ll damage the eye.