Procrastinator’s Guide to Viewing the Solar Eclipse

This is not a drill. The eclipse is tomorrow. I repeat, the total solar eclipse is tomorrow

Yes, the celestial event of the year/decade/century, depending who you ask, is finally here. Many (organized) people planned their eclipse day a year ago, or longer.

But if you’re not one of them, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need:

Real (not fake) eclipse glasses

This cannot be stressed enough. Staring at the sun can blind you — it’s even called “eclipse blindness.” In order to view the eclipse, you need eclipse glasses, which have a special solar filter to protect your eyes. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous characters make counterfeits, but spotting the fakes is easy. Only 12 companies make eclipse glasses that the American Astronomical Society and NASA have certified are safe. Make sure the “ISO” (International Organization for Standardization) icon is on any eclipse glasses you buy. The glasses also must have the ISO reference number 12312-2.

If you don’t have glasses yet, go here (maybe)

You snooze, you lose, folks. Stores across the country began running out of eclipse glasses last week, so you may be out of luck. Check the list below for where the glasses are being sold and send a prayer to the eclipse gods that some are still available.

How to take photos, videos, time-lapses

If you’re shooting with a smartphone, you don’t technically need any extra equipment, and you can do some pretty cool things with that wider shot, such as a time-lapse. But if you’re serious about photography and plan to shoot close-ups of the sun, you’ll need a solar filter for your camera to avoid damaging its lens. You will also want to pick up a tripod since it’s going to get very dark, very quickly during totality. And don’t forget your zoom lens to get a closeup of the eclipsed sun. If you’re shooting a wide shot of the scene with your smartphone or GoPro, you don’t need a solar filter. Regardless of whether you’re shooting with a smartphone or professional camera, don’t forget to capture the spectacle around you as tens to hundreds of thousands of eclipse glasses-wearing watchers look up to the sky all at once.

Location, location, location

The total solar eclipse will move across portions of 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina. The path of totality follows just a tiny sliver 67 miles wide as it runs from coast to coast. If you’re outside the zone, you will only see a partial eclipse. Here’s an interactive map where you can plug in your zip code and see how much of the eclipse you will see and when the event will occur where you are located.

Don’t be late: Check the time

Totality begins in Oregon at 10:16 a.m. PT. It ends in Charleston at 2:48 p.m. ET. That’s only about 90 minutes for the eclipse to cross the entire country. In between the coasts, the eclipse will pass through Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Wherever you go to watch, don’t be late. The total solar eclipse, when day turns into eerie night, only lasts 2-3 minutes in any given location.

Can’t make it to the path of totality? Here’s how to watch

If you’re not one of the masses headed to Oregon, Idaho, Kentucky, South Carolina or any of the other areas within the “path of totality,” there’s always TV, online and apps. The USA TODAY network will showcase the eclipse live from several locations on the path of totality, beginning in Newport, Ore., on Monday at 9 a.m. PT. USA TODAY will also livestream from locations across the entire path of totality from Oregon to South Carolina on Instagram.

Weather could mar the view in some spots

Most of the nation should see fairly quiet weather Monday, with the cloudiest and potentially rainiest spots in the Upper Midwest and the Southeast. Morning low clouds could fill skies in coastal areas of Washington, Oregon and California. Most of the rest of the West should have clear or mostly clear skies for eclipse viewing, especially in eastern Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming. One caveat: smoke and haze wafting from wildfires could take the edge off viewing conditions there.

Click here to read more.
Source: USA Today