LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The solar eclipse now only days away, so let’s talk about the anatomy of a solar eclipse.
How exactly does this all work out? Let’s go into outer space! We have the sun at the center here, we have the earth that revolves around the sun, not in a perfect circle, and the moon that revolves around the earth, also not in a perfect circle. So eventually what happens, is that they all line up. And when they line up it casts a partial shadow.
Whenever the moon is between the sun and the earth that partial shadow is called a Penumbra. A more defined shadow, a full shadow, called the umbra. This time around, the umbra is going to be seventy miles wide and it goes from coast to coast. West coast to east coast.
Arkansas is not directly under the full shadow, but we will be under the partial shadow with Little Rock seeing about 91% of the sun covered up. If you want to experience this great event, there are some safety tips you need to keep in mind.
If you want to look at the eclipse directly, you must use appropriate eyewear.
"You don't want to use regular sunglasses, I don't care how expensive regular sunglasses are. They just aren't going to work, they won't filter out all of the UV and infrared light," said Darrell Heath with the Arkansas Astronomical Society.
Your glasses must have an ISO number indicating that they are certified. These glasses are made with optical grade Mylar.
"Optical grade Mylar will filter out 99.999% of the sun's rays. It only allows a small fraction of the sun's visible light," he said.
Next you want to make sure your glasses are not damaged.
"A sure sign that they are working, if you can't see anything. You might want to test it by holding it up to a lamp, a bright lamp. If you see any light passing through, throw it away," Heath said.
Another thing to keep in mind when using these eclipse glasses is not to look at the sun and then put them on. Look down first, put them on, then look up. When you are ready to look away, look down then take them off. That way you are not staring directly into the sun.
Make sure you get these glasses from a Nasa approved manufacturer. And if you miss the eclipse this year, the next one goes right over the Natural State April 8, 2024.
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