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Eclipse offers rare opportunity to study sun, atmosphere, animals

12 August 2017

Two local science organizations are offering help to people wondering how to observe the solar eclipse, which will impact all of the mainland United States on August 21.

The total eclipse will only be visible in a narrow 67-mile stretch of the country running from OR to SC.

The Moon's shadow will block the Sun's light, and weather permitting, those within the path of totality will be treated to a view of the Sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona. Looking directly at the eclipse at any moment except the brief period when the moon has fully eclipsed the sun without certified glasses could damage your eyes.

Penn Dixie is offering free solar eclipse viewing glasses to the public, thanks to NASA and SUNY Buffalo State.

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"When you put the glasses on, you can look at the sun, but don't try to walk around", Chou said. Dunham founded the International Occultation Timing Organization in 1975 to take observations when objects pass in front of the sun and other stars, and he has also plumbed previous eclipse measurements to analyze the size of the sun over time. The flights are expected to net the clearest pictures of the sun's corona to date, because, at 50,000 feet above ground, the sky will be 20-30 times darker than as seen from the ground and there will be much less atmospheric turbulence.

He says this time around, he'll watch the eclipse on TV.

Eclipse glasses are being given away at McCracken County, Graves County and Calloway County libraries, but only during eclipse-related events. "Please be sure to keep your headlights on for your safety throughout the entire day of the eclipse".

How rare is a total solar eclipse? The maximum will occur at about 1:12 p.m., meaning the maximum amount of sun covered by the moon.

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Science Central's event Sunday will show people how to experience the solar eclipse safely during hands-on activities and demonstrations, the science center said on its website, www.sciencecentral.org.

So what will the sun look like your proper glasses?

For DSLR cameras, the best way to determine the correct exposure is to test settings on the uneclipsed Sun beforehand. It's not safe to use regular sunglasses to look at the eclipse, according to NASA information. This only happens about every 6 months, such as August 2017 when the moon is on the line of nodes. Use the hashtag #Eclipse2017 and tag @NASAGoddard to connect your photos on social media to those taken around the country and share them with NASA. There are also tips on how to make an old-fashioned pinhole projector for viewing. In other words, we should enjoy the eclipse while we can. The eclipse this year will last no more than three minutes in its totality.

Maila Yang, marketing and communications manager for the Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she has seen a lot of interest in the eclipse here. Hold the object between the sun and a white surface, like a piece of paper or the sidewalk, to see an image of the sun on the screen.

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Eclipse offers rare opportunity to study sun, atmosphere, animals