4 ways to watch the total solar eclipse on Monday (8/21/17)

You’ve no doubt been hearing about the total solar eclipse for many weeks now. It’s a big deal because it’s the first solar eclipse to cross the entire continental United States in 99 years. All this time, you have probably been telling yourself to read up on the subject and order some special solar eclipse glasses so you can experience what might be a once in a lifetime event. If you actually ordered the glasses, have your DSLR camera, 600mm telephoto lens and tripod ready to go, then yay for you. You get a special geek star award for always being prepared. What do the rest of us procrastinators do on Monday so we won’t feel left in the dark (literally)?

1. Get a pair of solar eclipse viewing glasses so you won’t go blind.

No, your regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes from the damage of looking at the sun during the eclipse!

Is it too late to buy a pair of solar eclipse glasses? No, not if you don’t mind paying ticket scalper prices like I’m finding on Amazon.

You are better off looking for some freebie glasses locally in your town. Contact the nearest high school or library and ask if they have any freebies. Just double check that the glasses are ISO certified safe if you do end up scoring a pair. You can check out this excellent and very detailed article on the subject at https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/iso-certification.

2. No eclipse glasses? No problem. Build a camera obscura pin-hole viewer instead.

Even though I was lucky and was able to get some eclipse glasses at the last minute at a decent price from ThinkGeek, I’m still going to build one of these viewers because I like geeky arts and crafts. It’s also pretty much free if you already have a box, some tape, a piece of white typing paper, foil, and a pin. For easy instructions, check out these articles that show different styles of pin-hole viewers that you can easily create in just a few minutes:

See also:  Gadgeteer team EDC update - Steve Holt

How to make a handheld solar eclipse box viewer
How to make a wearable solar eclipse box viewer
How to make a group solar eclipse viewer with a pair of binoculars and a tripod

The group viewer requires some extra gear, but I think that’s the one I’m going to try to make.

3. Watch the eclipse without glasses or a pin-hole viewer.

If you don’t want to track down a pair solar eclipse viewing glasses, build your own viewer or even make the effort to go outside, you can still watch the solar eclipse from the comfort of your favorite chair. There will be many sites live streaming the event like the CBS News eclipse coverage through CBSN, CBS News’ 24-hour online streaming platform. Their coverage will begin at 12 p.m. ET on Monday.

4. If you happen to take a nap and sleep through the whole thing, you can still watch it later.

After the total solar eclipse event has ended, you still can tune into your favorite news sites where there will be all sorts of commentary on the event and replays that will show the total eclipse of the sun. This is not the laziest way to watch the total solar eclipse because not everyone will see the eclipse in its totality. Live streaming or watching it later will be the way most people will get to see the full total eclipse.

What will the eclipse look like where you’re located and what is the best time for viewing? You can find out here: https://eclipsemega.movie/simulator

If you have some more good advice on this subject please share it in the comments below.

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15 comments… add one
  • John Kes August 17, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The wearable viewer is a crackup! Your link is missing a few words. It should be: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/box-pinhole-projector.html

    I did the pinhole camera last eclipse. I planned ahead this time and got low cost glasses from Amazon.

  • Julie Strietelmeier August 17, 2017, 4:54 pm
  • DStaal August 17, 2017, 4:58 pm

    NASA files for pinhole cameras – both out of paper and 3D printable:
    https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/2d3d-printable-pinhole-projectors

  • Rusty August 17, 2017, 7:45 pm

    WOW! The prices really shot up. I guess it’s the same as when you see people at the post office on April 15th, trying to get their taxes in the mail. Everyone waits until the last minute. I bought a filter for my dSLR back in late June. Tried it out shooting a couple photos of sunspot AR2665 and the results were excellent! Cheap little cardboard gizmo ISO certified, less than 20 bucks. In our local community, there were over SEVEN HUNDRED people standing in line at a local supermarket, to get a chance to buy some solar glasses.
    In my area, south west Missouri, I think we are suppose to have between 90 to 94% coverage.
    The real kicker…the weather. It’s been “improving” but you know how inaccurate weather forecasts can be. They expect the entire state might have “some” clouds but “expect” it to be “mostly” clear during the eclipse. In the central Missouri area, hotels have been booked for months and if there are rooms available, it’s NUTS what they are asking. If the clouds move in and spoil it, people will go insane! But, our area is suppose to see another one around 2024. If it’s cloudy, no biggie for me, there is a new sunspot, AR2671 that came into view that is GROWING, so I can shoot that, if the eclipse pans out.
    One thing a lot of people may miss, that live in a area with 100% coverage, is something called “sun snakes” along the ground. Everyone will be looking at the sun (WITH PROTECTION I HOPE!), but as the corona shoots out from the edge, it can cast some interesting light patterns on the ground that appear to be snake like.
    One other thing I wonder about, how many tech support calls will happen on Tuesday, the 22nd, from people that tried to take a selfie or just take a photo of the sun, without protection for the camera lens 😉

    • Julie Strietelmeier August 17, 2017, 7:58 pm

      I got a little obsessed trying to figure out what I could do to get a good picture with my iPhone but then I decided to just enjoy the eclipse without trying to capture it on my phone.

      • John Kes August 18, 2017, 12:59 pm

        The last partial eclipse, I took pictures of images from my makeshift pinhole camera. I also did the binocular imaging, but that needed 3 hands. Luckily my daughter was available at the time.

        This time I might try by shooting through my eclipse glasses (I planned ahead and ordered them last month).

        • Julie Strietelmeier August 18, 2017, 1:08 pm

          Are you going to shoot with a smartphone or a DSLR?

          • John Kes August 18, 2017, 2:06 pm

            The lenses in my eclipse glasses are only big enough to cover the lens of my iPhone 7. That means I’ll have to be careful not to allow sunlight to get around it and into my eyes.

            BTW, I already tested the glasses by looking at the noontime Sun. Looks dim and orange. Turns out is is a good brand: Lunt Solar. It will be 75% eclipsed in my area.

    • Autymn D. C. August 23, 2017, 7:54 pm

      supposed

  • Autymn D. C. August 23, 2017, 7:42 pm

    “No, your regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes from the damage of looking at the sun during the eclipse!”

    will -> shall, can.
    They can if you tilt the lenses so the sun takes a farther path. As a teen (not the only time) I stared at the sun for 10 seconds, and into a laser pointer for a minute, but didn’t go blind. As usual pop scientists are wrong. The retina’s blood supply likely keeps it cool, and its redness reflects most of the laser’s radiation.

    • Julie Strietelmeier August 23, 2017, 8:01 pm

      Thanks, but I prefer to believe the advice of “pop scientists” than someone who thought it would be a good idea to stare at the sun and a laser pointer.

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