[EDITOR’S NOTE: With so many Canadians preparing for the upcoming solar eclipse it is not surprising that Best Buy has sold out of most of the solar glasses that it had in stock, including the products that were reviewed in this article. Best Buy does have a few sets of these individual Celestron EclipSmart Solar Eclipse Glasses (shown here) available in some of its stores.
Check with your local Best Buy store for availability.]
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.
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.
Just need one? Reserve it online then pick it up in your local Best Buy store (while quantities last).
Im so happy i did not spend one penny on Toronto eclipse hype .
If I did not know I would of never known we were going through an eclipse.I took pictures from 1:15 to 3:00 very subtle differences. I was Sun Gazing .Its been a ritual for 15 years / meditating . The practice of sungazing closely resembles its name. At sunrise and/or sunset, when the sun is closest to the earth, sungazers stand barefoot on the earth and look directly at the sun for 10 seconds. Every day, 10 seconds are added and some sungazers eventually reach a duration of 44 minutes .
The theory is that the sun is the force of all life, and staring at it can infuse the body with large amounts of energy. So much so that one of the sungazers featured in the film, Hira Ratan Manek, claims to have gone eight years without eating. He has been “eating” a steady diet of solar rays, and claims that this is all he needs for nourishment.
Our ancestors understood the relation between the sun and health. From the Aztecs to the ancient Egyptians, many past societies revered sungazing as an esoteric practice for high-ranking priests and shamans. Today, it is experiencing a resurgence in popularity and sungazers claim it has its benefits.
Boosts production of melatonin and serotonin. Research shows sungazing stimulates the pineal gland as the direct sunlight hits the eye, moves through retinal-hypothalamic tract, and then hits the brain. This stimulates the pineal gland, also known as the “master gland”. This boosts the secretion of melatonin and serotonin, our “feel-good” hormones.
Increased energy levels. Modern day sungazers say the practice has boosted their vitality. This is probably related to the secretion of the aforementioned hormones.
Increases the actual size of the pineal gland. Not only can this practice boost hormone levels, it has also been shown to increase the size of the pineal gland. Normally, as we age, the pineal gland shrinks. However, brain scans of a long-term practitioner of sungazing show that this 70 year-old man has a gland three times as big as a normal man.
Promotes weight loss. One of the historical theories for sun gazing was that the body and mind could be nourished by the sun, reducing the need for food. Similarly, some modern day sungazers say they have lost excess weight, and some even report a total loss of the desire and need to eat.
Sungazing is an interesting practice that touches the spiritual and psychological realms, which are very personal things. Everyone is wired a little differently and this practice isn’t for everyone, nor is it something I recommend. If you choose to partake, do your own research, be careful, be cautious, and document your experience.
Please let me know your comments and thoughts below!
Sungazing.com. How to sungaze. 2011.
Are the glasses in the 4 pack of Celestron Eclipsmart Glasses, both ISO AND CE approved?
Please respond to my email address!
I just received a reply from Celestron: yes they are CE and ISO approved is the short answer for the 4 pack of glasses. they also provided a more detailed answer and have additional information on their website. Here is the detailed response:
EclipSmart solar products feature Solar Safe filter technology providing the ultimate protection from harmful solar radiation, including both IR and UV light, and filters 99.999% of intense visible light. Celestron Solar Safe filter technology is GUARANTEED SAFE for direct solar observation and has been independently tested by SAI Global Assurance Services.
Solar Safe products conform to and meet the transmission requirements of ISO 12312-2, Filters for Direct Observation of the Sun, EN 1836:2005 + A1:2007 (E) for an E15 Filter for the Direct Observation of the Sun and, AS/NZS 1338.1:2012, Filters for Eye Protectors.
Please there is Mederror shower coming
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