You might have just realized that the sun will be completely blocked by the moon for a period of time on Monday, Aug. 21, in parts of the United States. Don’t worry, we won’t tell! 😁
In just one week, America will experience its first total solar eclipse since 1979. In our part of the country, we will be able to see a partial eclipse as roughly 65 percent to 70 percent of the sun will be masked by the moon. The total solar eclipse will cross 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina.
Tens of millions of people are expected to travel into the path, in what will probably resemble the chaos of a zombie apocalypse. Businesses, cell phone networks and roads will be overwhelmed, as human beings scramble to catch the best view, pictures and videos. Those living and visiting within the path of totality are encouraged to fill up their tanks ahead of time and to arm themselves with extra batteries, water bottles and groceries.
For those of us staying right here in Austin, Texas, the partial eclipse is still worth observing. However, make sure to get safe “eclipse” solar glasses for viewing. Staring directly at the sun can do permanent damage to your eyes (as your mom warned!) 😉 Some local libraries are giving away these glasses this week.
Although experts recommend that inexperienced photographers should try and enjoy the moment rather than fiddle with their cameras, many are going to want to try and catch the moment on film or in a photo anyway. (I'm sure we will see an abundance of such posts shared via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, regardless of how amateur they are!) Take care when trying to photograph the sun on phones or tablets as sunlight can damage the camera or screen on these devices. Escape that risk by covering the camera with one half of a pair of solar viewing glasses. (Remember not to stare at the sun with your naked eye while you are trying to take a picture!) 🙏
To capture a better image, remove the phone or tablet out of its case before taping the filter over it to improve the image’s clarity. (Learn how to make your own solar filter here.) Stabilize your camera with a tripod because the slightest vibrations of your hand will make the image blurry.
What time is it? - The eclipse will start at 11:41 a.m. and will end at 2:39 p.m. The peak of the eclipse will take place at 1:10 p.m. Your best opportunity for attempting a photo is between 1 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.
Where should I watch it? Right here at Concordia! Our own eclipse viewing event, co-sponsored by the Office of Environmental Stewardship, the Environmental Science and Conservation Program and the CTX Library, will be fun for everyone! The library has purchased solar viewing lenses for your protection! Come enjoy free cookies, water and this amazing miracle. We will join on the upper deck between Building B and Building C.