Local science organizations offer help to prepare for the solar eclipse

Terry Joseph
August 14, 2017

The 80-year-old made his own viewer instead of using solar glasses. "If you use binoculars or a telescope, you must have a special filter, or the sun can burn your eyes and cause blindness".

Staring at the sun without proper filtration, even when it is partially obscured by the moon during an eclipse, can damage or destroy photo-receptor cells of the eye's retina, leaving blind spots in a person's field of vision, experts said.

If you don't have a telephoto zoom lens, focus on taking landscape shots, which capture the changing environment.

Homemade filters and ordinary sunglasses don't provide enough protection for looking at the sun or the eclipse. The shadow it creates is a called a penumbra.

It will also be the first total solar eclipse visible from any of the Lower 48 states since 1979. The camera's built-in digital zoom will not yield sharp images. "The real pictures are going to be of the people around you pointing, gawking and watching it", Ingalls noted.

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The last eclipse was a partial and occurred on Christmas day 2000.

And, besides enthusiastic viewers like myself, the event is top of mind for many others- including some people you may be surprised by, such event planners, CVB staffers, and venue managers. Make sure you know how to manually focus the camera for crisp shots. Using a fixed aperture of f/8 to f/16, try shutter speeds between 1/1000 to 1/4 second to find the optimal setting, which you can then use to take images during the partial stages of the eclipse.

The AAS and NASA have posted a list of reputable solar filter brands, retail distributors and online dealers.

Share your eclipse experience with friends and family afterwards. Upload your eclipse images to NASA's Eclipse Flickr Gallery and relive the eclipse through other peoples' images.

Even as makers of certified, safety-tested solar eye ware rushed to meet surging demand before the August 21 eclipse, they have joined astronomers and optometrists in warning of defective knockoffs flooding the US market.

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