What you need to know about the solar eclipse
In case you have not heard, Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse occurs. “This is the first time a solar eclipse is viewable from the continental U.S. since 1979,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.
A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. According to NASA, this celestial event will last close to 3 hours. Only those on the within the path of totality will be able to view a 100 percent total solar eclipse. That path begins in Oregon and stretches to parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina ending in South Carolina.
What can we see?
The solar eclipse will make its appearance in Florida at 1:15pm. While Florida will not see 100 percent of the solar eclipse, the best view will take place in the northeast part of the state. Jacksonville will view 90.5 percent of the sun covered. Less coverage is seen the further south of the state you are.
Protect your eyes
It is easy to blow off the warnings about looking at the eclipse without the proper protection but don’t. While blindness might be an exaggeration, serious eye damage can occur. The National Eye Institute reports, solar retinopathy is a condition caused by staring at the sun. It occurs when sunlight burns and potentially scars the retina. Symptoms include central graying and fuzziness of vision.
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) informs, the only safe way to view even a partial eclipse is through special purpose solar filters such as eclipse glasses or a hand held solar viewer. It is important to make sure your viewing accessories are certified and safe, meeting the ISO 123212-2 international safety standard. Take caution when purchasing solar eclipse glasses. Counterfeit versions are flooding the market. Your solar viewing device must also be free of scratches, punctures, torn or damaged. Public libraries are providing free solar eclipse glasses but most are already gone.
Retailers selling reputable solar eclipse glasses include:
Toys “R” Us
Schools are aware of the dangers the solar eclipse can cause to the eyes and many are moving activities inside during the eclipse. Check with your school to see what precautions they are taking for this rare event.