Editor"s note: The eclipse is here! mental to usage safe solar eclipse glasses and other equipment throughout the partial phases, and also soak up the darkness throughout totality!

We"re simply days far from the full solar eclipse of Aug. 21 , and also it"s a an excellent time because that a refresher food on exactly how to safely watch the event. Your parents more than likely told you to never look directly at the sun with her naked eye. In fact, you"ve most likely been told the by lots of reputable sources (including our own betterworld2016.org). Yet according to NASA and also four other science and medical organizations, it"s OK to look in ~ a complete solar eclipse v the naked eye — but only when the confront of the sun is totally obscured by the moon.

A complete solar eclipse happens when the central disk that the sun is completely covered by the moon. Many civilization have more than likely seen a partial solar eclipse, in i beg your pardon the disk of the moon appears to take it a bite the end of the sun"s disk but never fully obscures it. But total solar eclipses room a much rarer sight. And on Monday, a complete solar eclipse will cross the continental U.S. From coast to coast. 

A joint statement indigenous NASA and the four other establishments says that v the ideal information, skywatchers have the right to safely check out the full solar eclipse in its complete glory with the nude eye.

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Anyone in the United states on Aug. 21, 2017, will be able to see at least a partial solar eclipse (weather permitting, the course). But only those human being in what"s recognized as the "path that totality" will view a total solar eclipse. Because that the Aug. 21 eclipse, the path of totality is around 70 miles wide (112 kilometers), and also extends native Oregon to south Carolina. Depending upon where observers are located, the sun might be totally obscured through the moon for approximately 2 minutes and also 40 seconds.


The route of the full solar eclipse of 2017. Areas within the course of totality will endure up come 2 minutes and 40 secs of darkness. (Image credit: NASA)

"During those brief moments once the moon fully blocks the sun"s bright challenge … day will turn right into night, making clearly shows the otherwise hidden solar corona (the sun"s external atmosphere)," according to NASA"s Eclipse website. "Bright stars and also planets will become visible as well. This is truly one of nature"s many awesome sights."

But in order to check out this awesome organic sight, skywatchers should know exactly how to view the eclipse safely. In an initiative to inform the public on this topic, NASA, along with the American Astronomical society (AAS), the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Optometry and the national Science Foundation, have written and also released an informational guide on safe viewing.

Eye protection for looking at the sun

Looking straight at the sunlight without eye defense can reason serious eye damages or blindness. Yet there are ways to safely observe the sun. Throughout a partial solar eclipse, human being often usage pinhole cameras to clock the progress of the moon throughout the sun"s surface (pinhole cameras are basic to make at home). This is an "indirect" method of observing the sun, because the viewer sees just a estimate of the sun and also the moon.

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To check out the sun directly (and safely), use "solar-viewing glasses" or "eclipse glasses" or "personal solar filters" (these room all names because that the same thing), follow to the safety recommendations from NASA. The "lenses" that solar-viewing glasses are made from special-purpose solar filters that are numerous thousands of time darker than constant sunglasses, follow to rick Fienberg, push officer for the American Astronomical society (AAS). These glasses are so dark the the confront of the sun should be the just thing visible with them, Fienberg said. Solar-viewing glasses deserve to be provided to check out a solar eclipse, or come look because that sunspots top top the sun"s surface. 

But beware! NASA and also the AAS recommend the solar-viewing or eclipse glasses satisfy the present international standard: ISO 12312-2. Some older solar-viewing glasses may accomplish previous standards for eye protection, but not the new international standard, Fienberg said.