Big Event August 21: Total Solar Eclipse
What's All The Hubbub About?
There’s been some buzz in the greater Omaha area about the solar eclipse that is happening on Monday, August 21, 2017. Although the eclipse will not be a total eclipse in Omaha, we wanted you to know all about it.
If you’ve never experienced a solar eclipse, it is when the moon blocks the path of the sun. A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely blocks the view of the sun.
Why are we blogging about it, you ask? Viewing a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection can cause severe damage to the eyes. The only time it is safe to look directly at an eclipse is when it is in totality (which we won’t experience in Omaha at all, however if you make the trek out west elsewhere in Nebraska you can expereince it). Looking at the sun by itself can cause a condition called solar retinopathy, and this condition is more common to happen while viewing an eclipse because the rays are very intense and because it is a unique situation, we tend to look at it longer than we would just the plain sun. Solar retinopathy damage can sometimes be permanent.
We Have Eclipse Glasses!
So, how do you safely look at the solar eclipse? There are all kinds of DIY project ideas to indirectly allow you to view the eclipse, but we would suggest purchasing special filters to allow you to safely view the eclipse. We currently have Eclipse Glasses on sale, but they are in limited supply so you should act as quickly as possible. Please remember that your sunglasses, no matter how dark or if they are polarized, are not the correct type of filter and your eye can still sustain damage to the retina if you use your normal sunglasses to view the eclipse. Our solar eclipse glasses on the other hand are very nearly opaque--you cannot see anything through them unless it is something very, very bright (like the sun!).
For a map of where you can best see the solar eclipse in Nebraska, click here (http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/states/NE.htm). The hotels in Grand Island and other places on the path of totality are already booked, so start planning early on how you plan to view this very rare astrological event. Many schools that are already back in session are even letting the students out the day of the eclipse.
For more information about the eclipse, please feel free to visit the American Astronomical Society page.