3 Ways To View The Partial Solar Eclipse This Evening

Oct 23, 2014

There will be a partial solar eclipse tonight at 6:00. The eclipse is expected to last about three hours. Such an eclipse occurs when the moon obscures part of the sun.

Should you walk outside and take a look? No! You need eye protection, or you risk eye damage.

Here are tips from NASA:

1) Projection: The safest and most inexpensive way to watch a partial solar eclipse is by projection. Place a pinhole or small opening in a card, and hold it between the sun and a screen – giant sheet of white paper works – a few feet away. An image of the sun will be seen on the screen. Projected images of the sun's crescent during an eclipse may even be seen on the ground in the small openings created by interlacing fingers, or in the dappled sunlight beneath a leafy tree. You can also use binoculars to project a magnified image of the sun on a white card. However, you must never look through the binoculars at the sun.

2) Filters: The sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters usually have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver deposited on their surfaces. One of the most widely available filters for safe eclipse viewing is a #14 (or darker) welder's glass. A welding glass that permits you to see the landscape is not safe. Aluminized mylar manufactured specifically for solar observation can also be used. Mylar can easily be cut with scissors and adapted to any kind of box or viewing device. Only use filters that you know have been approved for solar viewing.

Unsafe filters include color film, some non-silver black and white film, medical x-ray films with images on them, smoked glass, photographic neutral density filters and polarizing filters. Solar filters designed to thread into eyepieces, which are often sold with inexpensive telescopes are also dangerous.

3) Telescopes with solar filters: There are sun-specific telescopes available for sale -- or perhaps through a local astronomy club -- that are also safe for viewing a partial eclipse.

>>NASA invites you to share your images and browse the photos that other people have uploaded.

Find out more about eclipses here.

Partial solar eclipse
Credit T. Ruen / NASA Goddard via Twitter