Do's and Don'ts for the 2017 solar eclipse

Posted at 11:45 AM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 17:55:00-04

The last solar eclipse in America happened in 1979, when Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" flew up the charts and Jimmy Carter was president.

Senior Scientist at the Maryland Science Center, Jim O'Leary, saw that eclipse and has been waiting ever since. 

"From here in Maryland it won't be total, 80% of a total eclipse, so it's a partial eclipse," O'Leary said.

Scientists are calling it the All-American eclipse. It will start in Salem, Oregon, and cross through Charlotte, North Carolina.

Here in Maryland the eclipse will be visible from 1:18 p.m. until a quarter after four. The most coverage will be at about 2:45 p.m.

While watching the eclipse O'Leary encourages everyone to wear solar glasses, not sun glasses or any alternative, "Looking at the sun we know is dangerous, even just glancing at the sun you know it's too bright to stare at so you tend to look away, but people have damaged their eyes by looking at the sun."

During the week leading up to the eclipse, the Science Center is handing out solar glasses.

"They're you know very fashionable, you just put them on here and you look up at the sun, you finish looking at the sun, you look down and take them off just to be completely safe," he said.

The glasses block 99 percent of the sunlight. The Science Center will also have shields, that are much bigger and easy for kids to use.

If you don't have solar glasses, you can make a pin hole projector with a piece of paper and a pin. Take the pin and poke a small hole through the middle of the paper. Then hold up the paper parallel to the ground, on the floor you will see shadows of the sun and moon as the eclipse happens.

At the Science Center, there will also be Sun Spotters which act just like a pin hole projector.

This is the first cross-continental eclipse America has seen in the last 99 years. The next eclipse Americans will see will come up through Mexico in 2024.

For other locations to watch the eclipse, check this link out.