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August 1, 2017
You hear it all the time. People say something’s “historic” or “once-in-a-lifetime” or “the first time ever.” Well, the Great American Eclipse coming up on Aug. 21 actually lives up to all of that and more! For the first time since the United States was born in 1776, we’ll see a total solar eclipse that’s contained entirely within the USA.
All the way from Oregon to South Carolina, people will experience moments where the sun is completely blocked by the moon. Here in Tampa Bay, more than 80 percent of the sun will be covered for a few moments, so the daylight will get substantially darker — and it will be awesome! The eclipse will begin in Tampa Bay at about 1:17 p.m., reach its darkest point at 2:49 p.m., and be all over at 4:14 p.m.
Hold on — even with more than 80 percent of the sun covered, it’s still not safe to look directly at the sun! There are three safe ways (including one really fun family project!) to watch the eclipse:
How to Make a Pinhole Eclipse Viewer:
Here are the basics for a great family project — making your own eclipse viewer!
You can get more instructions and pictures online (search for “cereal box eclipse viewer”) or come visit MOSI on Aug. 5, 6, 12 or 13 and build one with us during our two-weekend All-American Eclipse Festival that’s included with MOSI admission!
Look at the ground! You can also view the eclipse by looking at shadows!
As the moon passes by the sun, look down! Anything that creates a shadow that allows small amounts of light to pass through will create a similar effect as the pinhole viewer. Trees are excellent examples! Check out this photo from the University of Illinois.
You can create the same effect using your fingers! Stand with your back ot the sun and hold your hands up over your head and make a pound # sign with your fingers. The light passing through the holes of your fingers should create the same effect and reveal the shadow of the eclipse. Super cool!
Here’s a cool video of what to expect: