What to know to watch the eclipse

A total eclipse will happen on Monday, Aug. 21. It will go across the United States starting in the Pacific Northwest and ending in the south. Find out when it will occur where you live specifically HERE.

The total eclipse itself is 70 miles wide, so those areas that aren’t in that area will experience a partial eclipse.

So what does that even mean? And why should you care?

A total solar eclipse, according to NASA, is when the moon completely covers the sun. Moon eclipses happen when the full moon passes through the shadow of Earth. They don’t happen every month because the sun, moon and Earth have to all line up when the moon is full. The last total eclipse that took place in the contiguous United States happened in 1979 and the last one to traveerse the entire continent occurred in 1918.

If you will be on the Central Coast during the eclipse on Monday, it will happen just after 10 a.m. and last only a few minutes. If you children are at home during that time, you should take them to see this rare occurrence. If your child is in school, check with his or her teacher to see if the class will be experiencing the eclipse.

Viewing Saftey
It is not safe to look directly at an uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun. The only safe way to view it is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar views.

It is NOT safe to use handmade filters or regular sunglasses to view the partial eclipse.

While it is NOT safe to view it through the viewfinder of a camera or unfiltered telescope, binoculars or other optical device, it is safe to look at the screen of a smarphone or digital camera.

According to NASA, an  alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. In this method, you don’t look directly at the sun, but at a projection on a piece of paper or even the ground. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the 6 outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. Standing with your back to the sun, do not look at your hands, but at the shadow of your hands on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.

When getting glasses for the eclipse, do note that there are only three manufacturers who have been certified that their eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, and Thousand Oaks Optical.

Where to get Eclipse glasses

  • Dr. Limberg’s office in Templeton, SLO & AG (call first–805-541-1342)
  • Rite Aid
  • 7-11
  • Lowe’s
  • Local libraries

​**We have not checked each of these places to see if the glasses are available. Please call first, and let Kiddos’ readers know in the comments what you found out when looking for eclipse glasses. Tell us which places are out of glasses and which places have them.**

Eclipse Playlist by NASA Interns