What Are Some Important Dos and Don’ts for Eclipse Watchers?
Later this month, on August 21, 2017, the Great American Eclipse will make its way across the United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast. It has been almost a century since the last time a total solar eclipse made its way on a coast to coast journey across the US in 1918. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from anywhere in the contiguous United States was in 1979. The total solar eclipse is a rare and stunning phenomenon. Not taking the necessary precautions could, however, turn it into a dangerous and potentially traumatizing experience.
Here are a few dos and don’ts that will make viewing the eclipse a safe and memorable experience:
- Do find out the path of the total eclipse.
- Do head to a spot that lies in the path of totality for the best views.
- Do check weather forecasts. Clear skies with high visibility will make for the best eclipse viewing experience.
- Do note the exact timing of the eclipse. The eclipse is usually visible for a very short duration. Do not miss out.
- Do carry your camping gear, food, and drinks; fill up on gas ahead of time in case you need to move quickly to get better shots.
- Don’t view the solar eclipse without the use of protective eyewear.
- Do ensure that your protective eyewear is ISO 12312-2 international standard certified for safety.
- Don’t use damaged, scratched, or wrinkled eyewear or ordinary sunglasses. Supervise children and young adults who may be viewing the eclipse with you.
- Do set your camera lenses to manual focus; use a solar filter to protect the camera lens.
- Do use binoculars or telescopes, but ensure they are equipped by protective lenses.
- Don’t use a smartphone to capture the eclipse.
- Do use a tripod to ensure you don’t capture blurry, shaky images of this rare phenomenon.
- Do read up on the various phases and phenomenon such as the first, second, third and fourth contacts and the Totality phase. Look out for the Diamond Ring effect.
- Do use a pinhole camera or projector to safely view the partial eclipse.
- Don’t fall for myths or superstitions. Certain cultures suggest fasting, staying indoors, or abstaining from physical activities during the eclipse. These are mere superstitions and have no scientific basis.