Ways to Experience the Solar Eclipse

North America will be treated to a spectacular celestial event this August, the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental U.S. in nearly 40 years! While Oklahoma City is just outside of the path of totality which stretches from Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., families can experience a partial eclipse as our moon covers part of the sun’s disk on Monday, August 21. Eclipse watch parties and other fun events are happening across the metro to help families enjoy this awe-inspiring sight!

Safety is an important concern when viewing a solar event. Mike Brake, with the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club, cautions families to use proper light filtration.

"You can damage your eyes or even suffer permanent blindness from looking directly at the sun, especially through binoculars or a telescope," explains Blake. " Use eclipse glasses that are widely available. No. 24 welder's glass is also an effective light block."  If you are feeling crafty, you can use a technique called pinhole projection. Here's an article from NASA about how to make a pinhole camera.  

Viewing the eclipse will be quite easy as it will take place in Oklahoma City right in the middle of the day. "You can view the eclipse from anywhere since... the sun (will be) high in the sky," says Blake.

Get a time schedule and sample of what the eclipse will look like in OKC by going here: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/oklahoma-city

Here are a few ways your family can experience the solar eclipse:

Get prepared for the upcoming solar eclipse as Science Museum Oklahoma visits local libraries to talk about what causes an eclipse and to share the best way to observe one without burning out your eyeballs! A few libraries will also host watch parties on the day of the eclipse.

The metro will experience approximately 85% obscuration of the sun. Join astronomy experts at Science Museum Oklahoma to view the eclipse in action on August 21 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Stop by The Science Shop to buy glasses that will allow eclipse-watchers to view the event safely. Representatives of the Museum will also join staff from the Moore library for a special event at Moore's Central Park Amphitheater! This special Solar Eclipse event, on August 21 from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., features stories and activities all about the eclipse. Attendees will get a pair of eclipse safety glasses to safely enjoy the viewing event.

Myriad Gardens hosts a Great American Eclipse Viewing on August 21 from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. complete with “space” music, food and educational activities. Special CE-certified eclipse glasses will be handed out for safe viewing of the partial phases of the solar eclipse. In Oklahoma City, the prime time to see the eclipse will be between 11:37 a.m. - 2:34 p.m. with the maximum peak view at 1:05 p.m.

Check out these fun activities your family can make to view the eclipse from your own backyard!

If the clouds move in, don’t worry. You can always connect to NASA’s live streaming event.

If someone in your family has a budding interest in astronomy, visit the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club website or one of their monthly meetings, which happen on the second Friday each month at Science Museum Oklahoma at 7 p.m. 

Solar Eclipse Eye Safety Tips:

(provided by the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute)

  • Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not strong enough to protect your eyes while looking at the sun. Wear official eclipse viewing glasses that meet International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 12312-2 safety standards. A list of reputable vendors can be found here.
  • Beware of fraudulent eclipse glasses that do not meet safety standards.
  • If you wear regular eyeglasses, place the solar eclipse glasses on top of them.
  • Supervise children using the special glasses to make sure they use them correctly and that the glasses are adjusted properly. If the glasses are too big, cut and tape them at the nose to make them smaller.
  • Do not look at the eclipse through a camera, binoculars or telescope, even if you are wearing eclipse glasses. The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes. Use solar eclipse filters on camera lenses, binoculars and telescopes. Check the filter before the eclipse and if it is damaged or scratched, replace the filter.
  • Use extra precaution, such as an indirect viewing method, if you are taking a medication that dilates your pupils – this reduces the time it takes to injure your eyes.

For more information about how to safely watch the solar eclipse, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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