Lake Afton Public Observatory director Harold Henderson and the Kansas Astronomical Observers’ Fred Gassert spoke to a crowd of about 20 people on Saturday about how to safely view the eclipse in and outside the path of totality. Here are some tips:
▪ Protective glasses should be used when looking at the partial eclipse, even with cloud cover. “You’re never going to be able to look at it without protection,” Henderson said.
▪ Check your glasses for any scratches or holes. Throw them out if they’re already damaged and get new ones.
▪ Practice using protective glasses before the Aug. 21 eclipse, Henderson said. “If it’s sunny outside at noon, 5:00 in the afternoon, a little before sunset, consider taking your eclipse viewers, putting them on, looking at the sun (to) see what to expect.”
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▪ Use your hands to hold your glasses in place as you crane your head toward the sun, in case they become unsettled or a gust of wind blows them off your face.
▪ Put a filter on your camera “or you’re just going to ruin it,” Gassert said. Or forget about taking pictures and focus on experiencing it, since there will be hundreds of photos taken across the country.
▪ Don’t use binoculars to look at the partial eclipse with protective glasses. The binoculars will magnify that light, melt the lenses and then damage your eye, Gassert said.
▪ If you’re in the path of totality, you can tell totality is reached when you can no longer see any sunlight through your glasses. Henderson said it’s best to “wait a few more seconds” before taking off your glasses. You should only do that if you’re in the path of totality when the sun is completely covered.
▪ Put glasses back on shortly before totality ends. “It’s the safe thing to not be the first one to look at total and not be the last one to look at it,” Gassert said.
There will be another presentation on solar eclipse safety on Aug. 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Lake Afton Public Observatory, 25000 West 39th St., Goddard. A pack of materials, including eclipse glasses and a filter, is $8.