When I was a kid a solar eclipse was a big deal. It normally happened when we were at school, and everyone would run outside to see what it looked like when the sun and moon lined up and the sky went dark.
Since then, I’ve witnessed a few partial eclipses, but I haven’t been in the right time and place where I could witness a total eclipse. Because my family is a big fan of astronomy and we love events like meteor showers and star watching, a total solar eclipse is something I’d like to share with my kids. Thankfully, that day is coming very soon.
On August 21st, 2017, there will be a total solar eclipse that will be visible in parts of Canada and many parts of the United States, and no matter where you live, you’ll want to view the total or partial eclipse with a pair of Celestron Eclipsmart Solar Safe glasses or Celestron Eclipsmart Power viewers.
What is a Total Solar Eclipse?
It’s impossible to look directly at the sun without hurting your eyes. Even if you try, your eyes will automatically close. That’s OK, because normally you don’t want to look directly at it. The only time you want to take in the sun is when you’re viewing a total or partial solar eclipse.
A total eclipse is when the moon lines up with the earth and the sun. The moon passes in front of the sun and the sky grows dark, the temperature drops briefly, and it’s an overall eerie experience. A total eclipse occurs every two or three years, but not everyone can see the total eclipse every time. That’s why August 21st, 2017 is such a special date.
Certain parts of Canada and the United States will be in or near what’s called the Path of Totality: that’s when those people will witness a total solar eclipse that they’ll be able to see if they put on a pair of Celestron Solar Safe glasses or view it through the Celestron Power viewers.
Who is in the Path of Totality?
Most of Canada will be able to view an 80% to 90% solar eclipse on August 21st , and that’s more of an eclipse than most of us have witnessed in our lifetimes. At 80 or 90% it will look very close to a total eclipse.
I’ve included the time and locations where you’ll witness the eclipse in the chart below, but in the entire country of Canada Victoria, BC will have the best eclipse magnitude out of all areas: you’ll view 91% of the total eclipse there and it starts at 9:09 am.
If you have the opportunity to head down to parts of the United States in August, you’ll find that there are a lot of areas near to Canada that are in the Path of Totality. On the West coast you could head to Salem, Oregon or Idaho Falls, Idaho. In Central Canada you could visit Casper, Wyoming and on the East Coast you’ll have to head all the way down to parts of Missouri or Tennessee.
Don’t worry if you’re not in a location you can see the total eclipse. No matter where you are this will be a great event to share with the family.
Celestron Solar Safe glasses let you view the eclipse safely
The Celestron Solar Safe Glasses come in a kit with a pair of sunglasses, a disc you can put over your camera lens or smart phone to take a photo of the eclipse, and a great guide to eclipses. You can buy a single pair of Solar Safe Glasses or, if you’d like glasses for the entire family, you can pick up the Celestron Solar Safe 8-pack kit.
There’s also Celestron Power Viewers. These glasses look like a cardboard virtual reality mask, but they have powerful lenses that give you two-times magnification to view the eclipse. You can buy them in a two pack, and it also includes a cool map that gives you all the info you need to view the eclipse in your area.
Both Solar Safe glasses and Celestron Power Viewers have Solar Safe filter technology. That means you’re protected from harmful solar radiation including IR and UV light. They also filter out 99.999% of visible light. They both meet all the transmission requirements for looking directly at the sun, so you know your eyes are safe.
I tried both pairs on and looked around. It’s a total blackout until you look at the sun. You’ll see an orange globe surrounded by dark. It’s pretty cool, and I can imagine how interesting it would be to view an eclipse with them. The Power Viewers bring the globe up closer, so these are your best option if you’d like a really great, close up view of the eclipse.
When you’re not using them, the Power Viewers fold up and can be pocketed until you need them again.
Astronomy is fun for the entire family
In addition to the eclipse glasses, Celestron has great astronomy gear you can use this summer to view the night sky. I think this is a great hobby for the entire family because all you have to do is head outside and grab a chair.
The eclipse glasses will let you look directly at the biggest star in our sky: the sun. But when it’s dark outside and the sky lights up with stars, a Celestron telescope is an amazing tool for night sky viewing.
We’re lucky here because we live on acreage and we have no street lights anywhere around. We can view stars and meteor showers with the naked eye, but we also like to pull out our telescope and get a closer look.
One of my best tips to get kids interested in astronomy is to use your Celestron telescope with a star app on your iPad. You can hold your iPad up to the night sky and it will identify constellations, so you can share that to engage them even more.
Once you get into astronomy it’s hard to stop, and we’ve traveled to places like the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles to take in their star nights. With a telescope we were able to faintly see the rings of Saturn, and there are a lot of different telescope accessories you can use to customize your own telescope to create an experience like that at home.
The upcoming total solar eclipse is something that’s not to be missed, so pick up a pair of Celestron Eclipsmart Solar Safe glasses or Power Viewers and view it with the entire family. You can find even more great tools to explore astronomy with Celestron, and they are available on Best Buy right now.