Solar Eclipse 2017 – Everything You Need To Know

Solar Eclipse 2017

Total Solar Eclipse – Monday August 21, 2017

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. NASA created this website to provide a guide to this amazing event. Here you will find activities, events, broadcasts, and resources from NASA and our partners across the nation.

How to view the solar eclipse without glasses?

An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won’t want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures. Don’t let the requisite warnings scare you away from witnessing this singular spectacle! You can experience the eclipse safely, but it is vital that you protect your eyes at all times with the proper solar filters. No matter what recommended technique you use, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and give your eyes a rest! Do not use sunglasses: they don’t offer your eyes sufficient protection.

How to safely view the solar eclipse with nothing but a cereal box

1. Trace a piece of paper that fits along the bottom
2. Tape said paper inside the cereal box and seal the top
3. Cut rectangular holes on the top to the left and right side
4. Cover the left hole with a piece of aluminum foil and tape in place
5. Poke a pinhole into the aluminum foil covering the left hole
6. Put the sun to your back, look into the right, uncovered hole and watch a projection of the eclipses sun on the inside of the box

The only safe way to look directly at the partially eclipsed sun is through special solar filters, eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. NASA warns consumers to make sure solar-viewing items are updated, as they need to meet ISO 12312-2 for optimal safety.

Another homemade method detailed by the agency is the classic pinhole projector, in which sunlight moves through a small hole onto a makeshift screen.

Basically, take a pencil, poke a hole in a piece of paper and place another piece of paper on the ground. Make sure the sunlight streams through the piece of paper onto the other one, and make sure to watch the makeshift screen and not the actual sun itself.

When is the solar eclipse?

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States.
The eclipse will begin over the Pacific Ocean at 15:46 UTC, which corresponds to 8:46 am Pacific Time. Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon will be the first location on continental US soil to see totality. The partial phase of the eclipse will begin here at 9:04 am local time, totality will occur at 10:15 am. Other places on the coast of Oregon will not have to wait much longer for the onset of the eclipse. For example, in Lincoln City, Oregon just west of Salem, the partial and total phases of the eclipse will start less than 20 seconds later than at Yaquina Head.

Where to find solar eclipse glasses?

Retail Stores:

Best Buy
Casey’s General Store
Hobby Town
London Drugs [sold out] Love’s Travel Stops [sold out] Lowe’s
McDonald’s (Oregon only)
Pilot/Flying J
Toys “R” Us [sold out] Walmart

FREE eclipse glasses from libraries: With support from NASA, Google, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Space Science Institute’s STAR_Net initiative has distributed more than 2 million ISO-compliant safe solar eclipse glasses to more than 6,900 libraries all across the U.S. To find out which libraries near you are holding eclipse-related events and distributing free eclipse glasses, see the library map on the STAR_Net website.

FREE eclipse glasses from NASA: With safety as its top priority, NASA has distributed more than 1.5 million ISO-compliant safe solar eclipse glasses to its officially designated viewing locations around the country, including sites of high-altitude balloon launches and Citizen CATE observations.

FREE eclipse glasses from Astronomers Without Borders: The August 21st eclipse will be visible throughout the U.S., but many schools and other organizations in underserved communities and remote areas can’t afford to purchase safe eclipse glasses. Astronomers Without Borders is giving away ISO-compliant safe solar eclipse glasses to needy groups willing and able to pay the cost of shipping and seeks donations to offset the cost of the glasses.

When will the next solar eclipse happen?

After the August 2017 solar eclipse, the US will see another solar eclipse on October 14, 2023. That one will be annular, however — which means the edge of the sun will remain visible as a bright ring around the moon. That eclipse will be visible from Northern California to Florida, according to NASA. After that, the next total eclipse in the US will occur on April 8, 2024, and will be visible from Texas to Maine.

What glasses are safe for the solar eclipse?

Solar Viewer Brands

American Paper Optics (Eclipser) / /
APM Telescopes (Sunfilter Glasses)*
Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold Film)* [see note 1] Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers)
DayStar (Solar Glasses)
Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses)
Halo Solar Eclipse Spectacles
Jaxy Optical Instrument Co., Ltd.* [see note 2] Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses) [see their unique kid-size eclipse glasses] 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 / (Solar Filter Foil)*


How to view the solar eclipse safely

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” (example shown at left) 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. Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers (link is external) 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.

How to photograph the solar eclipse

It takes some skill and some extra equipment to take dramatic pictures of a solar eclipse. But it is possible to capture the mood even with a simple cell phone camera.


First of all, protect your eyes!

Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection. You can seriously hurt your eyes, and even go blind.
Plan Your Pictures
Whether you have a smartphone or a more complex camera, planning is the key to a successful shot.

Find the next solar eclipse. If you use a compass to angle your camera, make sure to take into account magnetic declination.
Scout your location a few days ahead. Meet up early to avoid crowds and position yourself.
Check the weather! Dense clouds can cover a solar eclipse, but scattered clouds can add interest to your image.

Can I Use My Phone Camera?
You cannot expect to take spectacular pictures of a solar eclipse using only your cell phone because smartphones and small compact cameras have a wide and small lens and a small sensor.
But, there are ways to capture the eclipse by playing to the strengths of your mobile phone.

Find interesting scenery. Solar eclipses change both the light and shapes of the shadows. Compose your image by including trees, buildings, and reflections.
Turn around. Sometimes the best picture is behind you.

Project the Sun. Make a pinhole projector, and take pictures of the projection.
Turn off your flash. Flash will disturb the natural light.
Not happy with the result? Play around, and try again.
How to take sunrise and sunset pictures

DSLR Cameras and Extra Equipment
A good digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera gives more control over the image components, but it also requires more equipment and skill.

  • Eclipse filter. A special filter made for solar viewing must be used when photographing the sun. Not using a filter can damage your camera.
  • Focus carefully. Focus on the Sun’s edge, and readjust your focus during the eclipse.
  • Practice on the Moon or a bright star the night before.
  • Big lens. Use a focal length of at least 400mm or more.
  • Stabilize. Put your camera on a tripod or anywhere stable like a fence or the ground. Use your timer or a shutter with a cord to minimize movement in the camera.
  • Protect your eyes. Use the preview screen to view your composition.
  • Give your camera breaks. The internal components can overheat and get damaged.
  • Switch to manual. Manual gives more control of exposure. Bracket your exposures by shooting at various shutter speeds.
  • High resolution. To capture as much information and detail as you can, set your camera to the highest resolution (jpeg) or take uncompressed images (tiff or raw).
  • Keep shooting. Play around with the shutter speed for different exposures.
  • Edit your images. You can crop, add contrast, tweak colors, layer, and so much more, by processing your images in Photoshop, Lightroom, or even free photo processing software online.

How to make a solar eclipse viewer

You don’t need any special equipment to do this! How to make solar eclipse glassesJust cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. Then, with your back to the Sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground. During the partial phases of the solar eclipse, these images will reveal the Sun’s crescent shape, as shown in the accompanying photo.
If your observing site has trees, look at the shadows of leaves on the ground. During the partial solar eclipse, the tiny spaces between the leaves will act as pinhole projectors, dappling the ground with images of the crescent Sun!
Note that pinhole projection does not mean looking at the Sun through a pinhole! You project sunlight through the hole onto a surface and look at the solar image on the surface. Note too that pinhole projection is not useful for observing the total phase of a total solar eclipse; the projected image would be too faint to see. During totality, when it suddenly gets very dark, it is perfectly safe to look directly at the eclipsed Sun.

DIY: Simple Card Projector

The simplest and quickest way to safely project the Sun is with a projector made from only 2 pieces of card or paper.

You Need:
2 pieces of stiff white cardboard, e.g. 2 paper plates
alternatively, 2 sheets of plain white paper
a thumbtack, a sharp pin, or a needle
What to Do:

To make a quick version of the pinhole projector, take a sheet of paper and make a tiny hole in the middle of it using a pin or a thumbtack. Make sure that the hole is round and smooth.
With your back towards the Sun, hold 1 piece of paper above your shoulder allowing the Sun to shine on the paper.
The 2nd sheet of paper will act as a screen. Hold it at a distance, and you will see an inverted image of the Sun projected on the paper screen through the pinhole.
To make the image of the Sun larger, hold the screen paper further away from the paper with the pinhole.
A box projector works on the same principles, it requires a little more time and a few extra items to construct, but it is more sturdy.

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