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Enjoy the Solar Eclipse Safely

On Monday, August 21st, the moon will block the sun causing a solar eclipse. In areas north of Overland Park there will even be a TOTAL solar eclipse, meaning that the moon will totally block the sun. The last total eclipse in this area was in 1886 and the next one will be in 2205! Don’t miss this year’s phenomenon.

Around here the partial eclipse (when the moon covers part of the sun) will start at 11:40 AM with the total eclipse starting at 1:08 PM. With this interactive map you can see the “path of totality” and figure out if you’re in the path.  Areas at the edge of the totality path will see the total eclipse for a few seconds while those places in the center of the band will have up to two and a half minutes of total eclipse. Outside the path, you can still enjoy a partial eclipse.

To watch the eclipse safely in the partial eclipse stage, you either need to make a simple pinhole camera to project the image or use ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse glasses. If you look at the partial eclipse without proper protection, you’ll burn your retina and have a permanent blind spot. Don’t do that! You can safely look at the eclipse without protection ONLY during the TOTAL eclipse when the sun is totally blocked by the moon.

Sorry but we have sold out of eclipse glasses.  To get yours, check out your local drug store or online but be sure to look for eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard by these manufacturers: American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.

  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
  • Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
  • Similarly, do not look at the sun 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 enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.

With eclipse glasses or viewers that are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through them for as long as you wish. Furthermore, if the filters aren’t scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely. Some glasses/viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn’t look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015.

For more information, see this NASA website.

We will be closed Monday, August 21st, so that we can view the solar eclipse. Be safe, hope for a clear day and enjoy the nature’s show!