Solar Eclipse Information from Our Science Guy

Because I have gotten some questions I thought the NHPS community could benefit from some advice:


Yes, there will be a solar eclipse on Monday , Aug 21. In New Haven, we will have about 68% coverage, when the moon partially blocks the sun starting at about 1:25pm and going to 4pm, maxing at about 2:45pm.


I observed this type of eclipse with science classes in April of 1994, and of course studied this as an astronomy major in college. 


This is a PARTIAL eclipse. You will not notice hardly ANY difference in light, it will NOT get dark outside. Even 30% of the sun is bright enough to be essentially normal daylight.


THERE IS ALMOST NO SAFE WAY TO DIRECTLY OBSERVE THE SUN, you need special glasses above rating of  ISO 12312-2  , that is DARKER than welder glasses. the darkest sunglasses are 1000 times too weak, and the amount of UV light you will let in will permanently damage your eyes. TRUST ME, EYESIGHT is too precious to chance!


For a partial eclipse, the most satisfying way to observe would be at maximum coverage, about 2:45 pm, with some type of pinhole projection… either with a box, or some way of projecting the sun through a tiny hole… a colander (spaghetti strainer) would work!, or simply holding your fingers crossed, then looking at the shadow of the crescent moon over the sun on the ground.


There also will be LOTs of different websites with livestreams and so forth, and I know that many of our colleagues at SCSU and Yale will be studying it!   The next total eclipse in North America will be in 2024 in the Northeast….

Please let me know if you have questions!


Richard Therrien

Science Supervisor, NHPS