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Watch the Eclipse, But Save Your Sight


On Monday, August 21, a solar eclipse will be visible through the entire United States. Local observers will not witness a total eclipse, but the solar spectacle should still be impressive. At Stony Brook, about 76 percent of the sun will be covered, while New York City will see a 77 percent eclipse.

Protective equipment is essential for viewing solar eclipses.

At Stony Brook the eclipse will begin at about 1:25 pm and end at about 4 pm. Maximum eclipse will take place at 2:46 pm.

Dr. Frederick Walter

Feast your eyes, but NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITHOUT PROTECTION, EVEN WHEN IT IS PARTIALLY ECLIPSED. According to Dr. Frederick M. Walter, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, looking directly at the sun without protection can cause serious damage to the eyes.

Here’s more advice from Dr. Walter:

  • To see the Sun during a partial eclipse, get a pair of eclipse glasses. They are not expensive, but get them from a reputable source.
  • Or make a pinhole camera: put a small round hole in an index card, and project the image of the Sun onto a flat surface.
  • During totality it is perfectly safe to look directly at the Sun. Don’t waste your time taking pictures; there will be plenty of professionals doing that.
    Experience the spectacle of the Solar corona and chromosphere. See the stars come out during the daytime. Watch the shadow bands rushing across the landscape. Listen to the birds, who will get confused by the sudden darkness. Note
    how the colors change as the light fades.
  • If you can get to the centerline (which runs from Oregon to South Carolina),
    by all means do so. Be warned, though, that hotel rooms are hard to come by at
    any price within a few hours drive of the centerline. And there may be traffic
    jams in unlikely places on the morning of August 21 if too many people decide to
    take a look.
  • On the centerline, the total eclipse lasts about 2 and 1/2 minutes. If you are
    within about 35 miles of the centerline you will see a total solar eclipse,
    but the duration decreases as you move away from the centerline.
  • If you can’t get there, there is another eclipse coming on April 8, 2024. This eclipse will run from Texas through Maine, and will be total in upstate New York. Start planning!

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