An Important message from Kate Mestnik, Health Promotions Coordinator,
Kanabec County Community Health
On , Americans will have the great fortune of experiencing a total solar eclipse for the first time in nearly 40 years – 1979! This is an event you won’t want to miss! Some are traveling great distances to reach “the path of totality”; others are content with viewing what they can from the comfort of their own home towns. Either way, no matter where you are that day you will want to look up… but before you do there are some things you should know regarding the safety of your health.
Eye Safety – we have been told since we were little, “never look directly at the Sun!” This will be especially challenging for us as this unusual natural phenomenon occurs. Fortunately, there are ways to look without damaging one of our most precious senses, our sight.
Sunglasses: No matter how dark, will not properly protect your eyes as they do not block radiation which can “cook” the retina – the light-sensitive part of the eye.
~Eclipses transmit thousands of times too much light, rendering sunglasses as inadequate eye protection.
~Eclipse glasses or solar filters are about 100,000 times darker than ordinary sunglasses!
Eclipse Glasses or Solar Filters: If you plan to look up at the sky at all, you must wear certified eclipse glasses or use a solar filter with the ISO or CE mark on them to avoid permanent damage to your retinas from the Sun’s radiation.
~Always inspect your eclipse glasses or solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged discard it.
~If your eclipse glasses or filter viewers 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.
Buying Eclipse Glasses from a Reputable Source: Unfortunately, there are many solar filters and eclipse glasses that are unsafe and flooding the market in anticipation for this event by people hoping to capitalize on the captive audience.
~NASA is referring citizens to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products. External Link:https://eclipse.aas.org/
Regular Eye Glasses: If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
Cameras, Binoculars and Telescopes: 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.
~A solar filter must be attached to the front of the camera lens before use, unless during the brief period of totality at which time it may be removed (but totality will not occur in Minnesota).
~Is it safe to use a telescope? Yes, but only if you have special solar lenses and filters that fit over the large end of the scope (not the eyepiece).
~As for binoculars, again they must have filters affixed to the large ends; and you can only use them without a filter during the brief period of totality (not occurring in Minnesota).
Other Options –
Welders Glass: The only Welders Glass that are safe for direct viewing of the Sun with your eyes are those of Shade 12 or higher. These are much darker than the filters used for most kinds of welding. Only use this method if you know the filter’s shade number. If it’s less than 12 (and it probably is), Do Not Use It. The Sun may be too bright still at a 12, 13 is best but uncommon and hard to find (Goldilocks filter), and be too dark. Bottom line, eclipse glasses or solar filter may be the best way to view.
Indirect viewing: There are ways in which the progression of the moon through the Sun’s path can be tracked while not looking in the direction of the Sun at all; and does not require special filters or glasses. These methods are called pinhole projectors and more information can be found at the following link:https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-
Viewing From Mora, Minnesota – Minnesotans will be able to enjoy a “partial” eclipse where the moon covers only a part of the Sun. External Link:https://www.timeanddate.com/
Begins at : This is the time at which point the moon will begin to cross in front of the Sun, between the Earth, blocking out a small portion of the Sun.
Maximum at : It is at this point that the moon will cover the largest portion of the Sun for Mora, Minnesota.
Ends at : The last point in time the moon is in the path of the Sun.
Duration of 2 hours, 43 minutes: The time from when the moon first enters the Sun’s path, to the time it leaves and no longer blocks the Sun from Earth’s view.
Magnitude of .84 (out of 1): This is the portion of the Sun that will be covered by the moon due to their paths crossing. Keep in mind that here in Minnesota, the moon will not be in the direct path of the Sun to experience “totality”. Consequently, a sliver of the Sun will always be shining from around the moon, even at the maximum point of coverage.
***Therefore, there will be no point in time when it will be safe to look directly at the sun without eclipse glasses or a solar filter from Minnesota.***
The Path of Totality – A narrow band (approximately 70 miles wide) will stretch across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. In which, the moon will be in direct line between the Sun and Earth and will fully cover the Sun for a few minutes, the band in which this happens is called “the path of totality”. At the maximum point of totality, only the people in this path will be able to view the total eclipse without the viewing protection of filters.
Travel to areas along this band is expected to be quite high on eclipse day. For you eclipse chasers out there, here are a few helpful hints:
~If you are traveling to view the eclipse, go early and leave later – even by a few days.
~Ensure that you have sufficient fuel in your vehicle as pump lines may be long and supply may run short.
~Do not let your vehicle idle during the eclipse as it may easily become overheated and leave you stranded.
~Be patient in traffic.
~Carry adequate provisions of food and water as restaurants may be over flowing and grocery store shelves depleted.
~Obtain a printed highway map and bring it with you — don’t rely on your cell phone or GPS, towers may be jammed due to heavy use.
I sincerely hope that if you choose to enjoy this natural spectacle that you have an out-of-this-world experience, no matter where you are viewing from, that is both safe and wondrous!
Kate Mestnik, Health Promotions Coordinator
Kanabec County Community Health
Public Health Emergency Preparedness
PH: (320) 679 – 6317
Fax: (320) 679 – 6333
905 Forest Avenue East, Suite 127
Mora, MN 55051