“I don’t have eclipse glasses, so I’ll just watch it on TV.” Really? This statement, that I saw too many times on social media leading up to today’s solar eclipse, makes me sad. Why does it make me sad? Because, although it is most fun to see the sun covered by the moon in the middle of the day using a safe method such as solar viewing glasses, there is more to experience during a solar eclipse. The TV coverage will be there later, but the feeling that comes with an eclipse won’t.
If you do have solar viewing glasses or have made a pinhole viewer, it is so much fun to look up periodically and see the sun being covered by the moon. If you’re really lucky, you can look through a telescope with a special filter on it. For the one that happened today, the moon covered the right side of the sun, slid to the left and covered the bottom center of the sun, then continued to the left. That in itself is worth experiencing.
What Else is There?
If you have the time to sit outside during a solar eclipse, you will notice the subtle changes. If it is a warm day, you will notice it slowly getting cooler during a solar eclipse. For the one today, it was a relief when this started happening as it was a bit hot out, then gradually got cooler and cooler, making the temperature quite enjoyable.
At first, if you don’t have a way to look at the sun, you won’t even realize the eclipse is happening. But, in addition to the temperature change, you will start to notice it getting darker out. Of course, if you find yourself where a total solar eclipse is happening, this will be most noticeable. But even with a partial eclipse, you will notice it get darker. You may even think a cloud is between you and the sun, but if you’re able to look up, you’ll notice there is no cloud. I can see why people very far in history were somewhat afraid of the eclipse. I think most of us would find this frightening if we didn’t know about eclipses.
These two things just can’t be experienced by watching the eclipse on the TV or online. We see everything on a screen these days, but to actually go outside and experience something is unique. Anyone can look up the eclipse online, but not everyone finds himself in the path of either a full or partial solar eclipse. At times like these, I find it well worth my time to just go outside and enjoy the experience.
But It’s Over Now
True, this solar eclipse is now over, but did you know that the eastern US will experience another solar eclipse in less the seven years? Yes! On April 8, 2024, there will be another solar eclipse. Ironically, it will fall on a Monday like today’s eclipse. I am excited since I will be so close to “The Path of Totality” next time! If you are within the reaches of the next solar eclipse, get solar viewing glasses well in advance and keep in mind that there is more than meets the eye when experiencing an eclipse.
Where to Buy Solar Viewing Glasses
Unless you work in the science or science education industries, it can be difficult to find solar viewing glasses. Of course some stores carry them leading up to a solar eclipse, but it can be challenging to figure out which stores have decided to do this. A sure bet is, of course, Amazon. But get them early as the prices for these glasses, which are usually pretty cheap, went up a LOT leading up to the recent eclipse.