Total Solar Eclipse

February 12, 2017 in Education by Scott Logan

Total Solar Eclipse

Credit: The May 20, 2012, solar eclipse, as seen from Japan. Hiroki ONO/Flickr

It’s a good bet that most of us will not be in Indonesia for the Total Solar Eclipse next week. For those of you that are, the rest of us are envious.

Solar eclipses occur when the Moon strays in between Earth and the Sun, temporarily blocking out the sunlight. There are generally at least two solar eclipses around the world every year, but while that might make them sound relatively common, the chances of being in the right place at the right time is fairly slim. For example, the last total solar eclipse visible from the United States was in 1979, with the next one 2024.

As beautiful as the solar eclipse may be, staring at the Sun (even when it’s partially blocked out) for even a few seconds can harm your eyes due to the intense UV radiation. As such, you must use special equipment to view them. You can either purchase a pair of solar eclipse glasses, or make your own equipment as this NASA guide shows.