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Last-minute tips to safely watch eclipse in Columbia

How to safely watch a solar eclipse

Columbia is in the path of a total eclipse on Aug. 21. Here are tips for observing the event: Never look directly at the sun's rays. When watching a partial eclipse you must wear eclipse glasses at all times or use another indirect method if you w
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Columbia is in the path of a total eclipse on Aug. 21. Here are tips for observing the event: Never look directly at the sun's rays. When watching a partial eclipse you must wear eclipse glasses at all times or use another indirect method if you w

The countdown is on to Monday afternoon’s total eclipse in Columbia.

Richland Library_Eclipse_USETHIS

A partial eclipse begins at 1:13 p.m. in Columbia, with the total eclipse starting about 2:41 p.m. and lasting roughly 2 minutes and 30 seconds in downtown Columbia. A partial eclipse will resume, ending at 4:06 p.m.

If you plan to watch it, here’s what you must do

▪ Ordinary sunglasses, no matter how dark, are inadequate because sunlight is intense. You must wear eclipse safety glasses. Even a brief glimpse at the sun using glasses without the right filters can cause blurs, distortion, lost contrast and blind spots that could be permanent, eye specialists warn.

▪ Eclipse glasses may be worn over regular glasses or contacts.

▪ Even with appropriate glasses, don’t look at the sun more than a few seconds.

▪ If glasses are damaged in any way, they are not safe to use.

▪ During the eclipse, stand still and cover your eyes with eclipse glasses before looking at the sun. After glancing, turn away and remove your eye wear. Don’t remove while looking at the sun.

▪ The ONLY period it will be safe to watch the eclipse without specially made eyewear is when the moon totally blacks out the sun – in Columbia, that’s from roughly 2:41 p.m. to 2:44 p.m.

▪ Once the crescent begins to show again, it’s glasses back on.

Other things worth noting

▪ Your pets are safe and do not need eclipse glasses. “On a normal day your pets don’t try to look at the sun and therefore don’t damage their eyes, so on this day they’re not going to do it either,” said Angela Speck, co-chair of the National Solar Eclipse Task Force, in an earlier NASA briefing.

▪ To address concerns regarding fake or counterfeit eclipse safety glasses, the American Astronomical Society now recommends that you no longer look only for the safety language and ISO with reference number 12312-2. The AAS, along with NASA – the authorities on space – advise people to make sure their eclipse glasses are from these reputable manufacturers. If you’re picking up free glasses somewhere, it’s worth it to ask the manufacturer’s name.

  • American Paper Optics (Eclipser) / EclipseGlasses.com / 3dglassesonline.com
  • APM Telescopes (Sunfilter Glasses)
  • Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold Film)
  • Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers)
  • DayStar (Solar Glasses)
  • Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses)
  • Halo Solar Eclipse Spectacles
  • Jaxy Optical Instrument Co., Ltd.
  • Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses)
  • Meade Instruments (EclipseView Glasses & Viewers)
  • Rainbow Symphony (Eclipse Shades)
  • Seymour Solar (Helios Glasses)
  • Solar Eclipse International / Cangnan County Qiwei Craft Co.
  • Thousand Oaks Optical (Silver-Black Polymer & SolarLite)
  • TSE 17 / 110th.de (Solar Filter Foil)*

RELATED: Eclipse watch parties in and around Columbia

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