August 21st: the day when the moon will photobomb all the pictures you’re taking of the sun. It’s time for the Great American Eclipse! Let Sunwarrior help you stay healthy for the event.
A lot of fuss is happening over this event in just a few days, and for good reason. Total eclipses are fairly rare, cool, and well worth seeing. But we want you to be safe and healthy while you enjoy this spectacular display of nature and geometry in motion.
You may be wondering why you need to stay safe. Is the eclipse going to melt my brain? Are aliens coming? Not much concern for either of those, but the sun cranks out a lot of radiation, much of it you can’t see. Your eyes are good at compensating by contracting your pupils when bright light hits them, cutting back the flow. The problem during an eclipse? The radiation is still high while the light dims, meaning your pupils dilate, letting it all in.
Don’t Stare at the Sun Unprotected
It is tempting to look up as the world darkens and the sky goes gray-blue. The sun looks safe when it is partially covered. Resist this urge. The only exception is if you happen to be in the path of totality, you can look at the completely covered sun for the few minutes it remains so. Be careful if you're doing this because if you're still looking up when the sun slips out of totality, it can have permanent damaging results.
Get Eclipse Glasses
These glasses come in plastic and paper frames. They will let you enjoy the eclipse from start to finish without concern. You can still enjoy the eclipse without special glasses, just without looking at the sun.
Break Out a Welder’s Mask
Welding masks and goggles work too, as long as they are rated 14 or above.
Sit Beneath a Tree
Trees with a lot of leaves cast shadows that will slowly show the eclipse in a dazzling display of little crescents. It is magical and fun.
Use Your Fingers
Put your fingers over one another with a little space to make a crisscross shape with small holes. Look at the shadow they cast. This works much the same way the shadows cast by tree foliage will.
Use a Pinhole Projector
Make your own projector for the eclipse with a cardboard box. It’s easy. Cut a small, one-inch hole in the side of a cardboard box. Tape foil over that hole and put a hole in the foil with a pin. Place a white sheet of paper on the far side. This will cast one perfect circle of light that will fill in as the moon passes over.
Look Away from the Sun
Just like you can enjoy the sun on a nice sunny day, you can enjoy an eclipse by looking at the sky near it, but not directly at it.
Don’t Be a Sun Eater
Sun gazing or sun eating may or may not have some health benefits for those who do so early in the morning or at sunset for brief periods of time. During an eclipse in the middle of the day is not the time to practice this technique, sorry. Severe eye trauma from sun gazing is rare, but it is less rare around eclipses.
Don’t Freak Out
It isn’t the end of the world. You don’t need to make a run on the grocery stores. Calm down and enjoy it.
There will be a lot of people on the roads, heading to the many cities across the United States to get a glimpse of this wonderful spectacle. Listen to relaxing music, stay hydrated, pay attention, and stop often to stretch your legs. Be polite to other drivers. We want all of you coming back safe and sound.
That part about not freaking out doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan ahead. If you are heading toward the path of totality, bring plenty of water, food, and maybe extra gas. There will be a lot of people tapping the resources of wherever they end up with their bodies, RVs, tents, and cars. May want to pack some toilet paper and a trowel too. You never know.
Also, something to remember is to respect the towns and places you will be driving through or staying in. Clean up after yourselves and make sure to leave every place better than you found it. Keep the GREAT in the Great American Eclipse!
Good luck out there. Remember this is first and foremost a fun experience, so treat each other well and be safe.