Viewing the solar eclipse requires preparation

A total solar eclipse will be visible on Monday, Aug. 21 – and we’ll be in school for it. Make sure you’re prepared for the experience.

On Monday, Aug. 21, you might have a legitimate reason to have your teacher let you leave class early, because when will you have another chance to see a total solar eclipse?

While partial and annular eclipses – when the moon appears slightly smaller than the sun and blocks most of the light – occur every couple years, a total solar eclipse of this magnitude hasn’t been visible in the United States since 1998.

However, you won’t be able to see the total eclipse from campus – in fact, you’d need to travel to part of a band spanning from Oregon to South Carolina in which total viewing is possible.

In Tampa, the maximum visibility of the eclipse will only reach around 80% coverage at the peak view point of 2:50 p.m. But while hopping on a plane to a small city of Kentucky would allow you to see the eclipse’s peak visibility from the most optimal spot, Tampa’s partial viewing is still sure to amaze many observers.

Before running outside to see the eclipse, it’s important to invest in protective eye-wear. Dark sunglasses won’t cut it – be sure to nab NASA approved goggles, or make your own at home with this tutorial, to avoid eye damage.

Cheap protective eye-wear is available at many convenience stores or supermarkets, or can be ordered online – but beware of purchasing non-reputable glasses off the internet, as Amazon has been forced to recall one cheap brand called ICSTARS in anticipation of the event.

Viewing events, such as the one being held at MOSI from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., may also offer eye protection so you can see the wonder safely.

The eclipse will reach peak visibility at around 2:50 p.m. in Tampa – perfect timing to view right after dismissal.