The best ways to view the solar eclipse safely

August 17, 2017 05:57 PM

It's apparently solar eclipse fever in the Capital Region.

"We've sold over four thousand pairs or glasses," Said Dr. Valerie Rapson an astrophysicist at the Dudley Observatory at MiSci in Schenectady.

Dr. Rapson said they could have sold 4,000 more. It's the manufacturers who couldn't keep up. She bought as many as she could. The glasses, made for viewing the solar eclipse, are disappearing fast. It may be too late to get one. If you do, Dr. Rapson said make sure it's certified ISO 12312-2..

"If you've got these glasses they're really awesome. You could just hold them up and look at the sun directly," she added.

It's the safest way to observe the solar eclipse on Monday, according to Dr. Rapson. The glasses block out 99 percent of the sun's harmful rays. Even a few seconds staring at the sun without this filter could do some serious damage to your eyes. Aside from the glasses, you could use a welder's mask or goggles. But the filter has to be 14 grade or higher.

"If you have something lower grade, it's technically not safe to stare at the sun with. Too much light will get through and you're going to risk eye damage," Dr. Rapson said.

Otherwise you'll have to see a projection of the eclipse by simply using an index card and hole punched in the middle of it. You could get fancy and use a cardboard box, according to Dr. George Hassel, a physicist from Siena College.

"You can make a nice pinhole camera and put a piece of white paper on one side, punch a hole here, point it at the sun and you can look," he said.

If you do anything else, you may be asking for trouble at a time when you should be gazing up to the sky and experience a rare moment when the sun disappears. Both Siena College and MiSci are observing the eclipse with viewing parties on Monday. There will be solar glasses available to view the eclipse.

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Dan Bazile

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