Tips for Viewing the Eclipse on Campus

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If you want to know how to watch an eclipse, then Sharon Morsink is the person to talk to! But because she’ll be viewing the eclipse from a spot in the United States to experience a total eclipse (we’ll be seeing a partial one here in Alberta), she shared her tips with us a little early.

So, if you’d like to safely see the eclipse on Monday, August 21, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Put On Your Eclipse Glasses

Not your sunglasses — your eclipse glasses. When asked if sunglasses would be enough, Sharon said, “No, please!”

Don’t use 3-D glasses either — although their frames are made from cardboard too, they are absolutely not the same as eclipse glasses. Eclipse glasses (which you can buy online, or pull out from your last eclipse viewing) will have lenses that are entirely black and are almost impossible to see through (when not looking at the sun).

Note: one method to confirm the quality of eclipse glasses is to check that they are certified by CE British Standards Institute #0086 Notified Body HP2 4SQ and ISO 12312–2:2015.certified by CE British Standards Institute #0086 Notified Body HP2 4SQ and ISO 12312–2:2015.

If You Have Welder’s Glass, Use It

That’s right: if you have #14 Welder’s Glass, then you can hold that up in front of your eyes to take a look at the sun.

Use Your Lunch Break to Look Up

The eclipse will pass over the area surrounding Edmonton between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (i.e. it will be perfect for lunch-time viewing). And as Sharon said, “don’t miss it — if you have the opportunity to, step out at lunch.”

The Campus Observatory Won’t Be Open

Although the Observatory won’t be open during this month’s eclipse (the Observatory team is heading south to see the total eclipse), you can still view the phenomenon from any of the U of A’s campuses. As long as it isn’t overly cloudy or smoky, you should be able to see it from any point on the ground with a good view of the sun. If you really want an observatory experience, try the Telus World of Science observatory.

You Might See It on the Leaves

If you don’t have eclipse glasses or #14 welder’s glass, don’t despair: you can still see the eclipse by using more creative methods. These include looking at the leaves on trees, which will allow you to see the shadow cast by the eclipse. If leaf watching isn’t your thing, you can make your own eclipse viewer: just poke a hole (a teeny tiny hole) in a piece of cardboard, hold it up to the sun, and look at the ground to see the shadow that it casts. You can also check out NASA’s website for more instructions.

If You Can See Your Shadow, You Can See the Eclipse

If the day is a little cloudy and you’re worried you won’t be able to see the eclipse, look down to see if you can spot your own shadow. If you see your shadow, then your eclipse viewing should be good to go! (And unlike groundhogs, you won’t have to worry about six more weeks of winter — thankfully.) If you can’t see your shadow, it’s too cloudy for proper viewing.

Honestly, You Might Not Notice It

Because this won’t be a total eclipse, you might not really notice it — it may just seem a little dimmer outside. But, you still shouldn’t look directly at the sun (even with sunglasses on). Be kind to your eyes.

And if you miss this year’s eclipse, plan to take your lunch outside during the next one… in 2023!

Read more about the eclipse on August 21, 2017.Read more about the eclipse on August 21, 2017.