Skywatch: How to enjoy the eclipse

Courtesy: NASA
Published:
Updated:

The highlight in the sky this week happens during the day, not the night. The New Moon arrives at 2:30 in the afternoon on Monday.

But that new moon will line up just right with the sun and the United States will experience its first total solar eclipse since 1979!

Courtesy: NASA

While the Path of Totality (spot where the sun is completely covered) will be south and SW of us we’ll still see a large portion of the sun covered by the moon.

The eclipse starts in Columbus at 1:04 p.m. on Monday, reaches it’s maximum at 2:30 and ends at 3:52 in the afternoon. About 85% of the sun will be covered by the moon at it’s maximum.

If you are going to view the eclipse (and I suggest you do so) you NEVER want to look directly at the sun because you can damage your eyes permanently. Use special eclipse viewing goggles/glasses or filters for your binoculars or telescope.

Sadly where there’s a buck to be made someone will step in and exploit the situation. NASA is warning about counterfeit viewing glasses that aren’t up to snuff and can cause permanent damage. Click here for a link to reputable merchants.

If you don’t want to bother with buying a device to help you view the eclipse you can make a pinhole projector.

They’re very simple to make and can save your vision. All you need is two paper plates, cardstock or just stiff white cardboard and something you can use to poke a hole in one of the two pieces. After poking the hole you can project the an image of the sun onto the other piece of cardboard. If you want to get fancy click

After poking the hole you can project the an image of the sun onto the other piece of cardboard. If you want to get fancy click here to see how to make a pinhole viewer using a shoebox, foil, tape and white paper.

Jupiter will be easy to find in the night sky this week. It’ll look like a bright star around dusk in the west. On Thursday night you can use the waxing crescent moon to help you find it. Jupiter will be just above and left of it near the horizon. Not too far off you’ll see Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. Happy hunting!

Filed under: