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Tips and a few tricks for watching the eclipse

Eclipse Glasses Frenzy

In this Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 photo, Kristi Swan, right, was the first in line at 7 a.m., as hopeful eclipse-watchers line up outside the Clark Planetarium in hopes of getting eclipse glasses from the gift shop in Salt Lake City. Eclipse mania is building and so is demand for the glasses that make it safe to view the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. in 99 years. (Scott Sommerdorf/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Things to notice:

  • "Baily's Beads" appear for a few seconds as diamond-like beads of light flaring out from the moon's edge; it's the sun beaming through the valleys of the moon’s rugged topography.
  • Just before the 1878 total solar eclipse some observers noticed narrow bands of sunlight and shade rippling across the ground as if the sun were being seen in shallow water at the beach, according to David Baron in American Eclipse.
  • It will get cooler.
  • If there’s a wind, it tends to still near totality, the point where the moon completely eclipses the sun.
  • On a sunny day, the shadows you see blur at the edges; during an eclipse they sharpen.
  • Different animals will react differently, getting louder or quieter, jumpier or more settled, most of them behaving like they do as night falls, Baron notes.

Oddball viewing tips:

  • Fill a bucket. The eclipse will be reflected in the water.
  • Grab a colander and a piece of white cardboard. The eclipse will project through the holes in the colander and you can watch the reflection on the cardboard.
  • Can't find the colander? Put a tiny hole in the cardboard and set it against a small mirror. Use a second white cardboard piece to watch the reflection.

Sources: The Mirror, Time and Date.

Official tips:

  • Find a spot with an unobstructed view directly overhead.
  • The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through certified, special-purpose solar filters. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter. Don't remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Don't look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Also, don’t look through a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and seriously injure your eye.
  • Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
  • Remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. As soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.

Source: NASA

Reach Bo Petersen Reporter at Facebook, @bopete on Twitter or 1-843-937-5744.

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