solar eclipse

Many people are excited about the upcoming total solar eclipse. Most of us won’t get to see the total eclipse, but will get to see at least a partial eclipse. Even this can be a lot of fun. These are some things you can do to enjoy the eclipse safely with your family.

Get Solar Eclipse Glasses

You can order solar eclipse glasses from Amazon for your family to use during the eclipse. Make sure you buy glasses that are safe for use during a solar eclipse. Amazon had to recall some glasses because they weren’t certain that they were safe for the eclipse. They decided that they would rather recall the glasses than have people risk their eyesight and permanent damage.

Whatever you do, do not look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection. The damage can be permanent. If you want more information you can look at the NASA website. They have excellent information on when you can remove your glasses if you are in an area with a total solar eclipse.

If your children are using solar eclipse glasses, make sure they do not peek around the dark lenses to look at the sun. This can damage their eyes. If children cannot be trusted to keep their solar eclipse glasses on, find another way to allow them to enjoy the eclipse, such as watching it online.

Watch The Eclipse Online Or On TV

NASA will be live streaming the eclipse. This will run from noon to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The Science channel will also broadcast the eclipse. Obviously watching the eclipse on television is completely safe because you will not be exposed to the excessive brightness of the Sun.

Make A Pinhole Camera

You can make a pinhole camera to observe the eclipse as well. The advantage to this is that you will not be facing the Sun directly. There are instructions on the NASA website.

The basic idea is that you poke a hole in one card, then you project the image onto another card. This allows you to see an image of the eclipse without actually looking at the sun. This is a very good idea if you have young children who cannot be trusted with the glasses.

Take Cell Phone Or Camera Pictures

Using your cell phone camera or any other camera can damage the camera if you point it at the eclipse too long. The heat from the Sun can damage components inside the camera. If you want to take pictures, you will need a solar filter for your camera.

Do not expect exceptional pictures with your equipment unless you really know what you are doing. Cell phones can only do so much. The same goes for most cameras. If you have ever tried to take a picture of the Moon, you know how difficult it can be to take a good picture of it with a regular camera. The same goes for a solar eclipse, except you need to protect your camera. If your equipment isn’t up to the task, you will probably get very poor results. It can be fun to try regardless, so long as you protect your camera, eyes, and lenses appropriately.

Take A Look Around

The sun is not the only interesting thing during an eclipse. As things get darker around you, you may notice that birds and animals are reacting as though it is evening. They can be quite confused by this.

We watched a partial eclipse when I was younger, and one of the best parts was seeing how confused the birds and animals were. Things were getting dark quickly, so they acted as though it was night already. Our cats could not understand why we weren’t calling them in for the night and kept wandering around looking at us. They knew something was different, but not what.

It can also be interesting to see which stars you can see during the eclipse. Think of them as what you would see in about 6 months at night, although the visible planets may be different.

Shadows are very interesting during an eclipse. You will note that the shadows around you change shape especially under trees and places where just bits of sunlight break through. It is somewhat like the pinhole camera in that the shape of the eclipse is projected through the leaves.

Take time out of your day to observe the solar eclipse, whether you get the total eclipse or just a partial one. It’s an event that doesn’t come around too often, especially for such a large audience.