A solar eclipse is one time in life when a lot of people are excited about being left in the dark. Division Superintendent Dr. Shirley A. Perry has announced Carroll schools will be delayed an hour for the August 21 event to increase student safety.
“Although Carroll County will not be in the direct path of a total solar eclipse, we will experience a partial solar eclipse. The eclipse will begin at 1:11 p.m., with the maximum eclipse reached at 2:39 p.m. and completed at 4:01 p.m. The duration of this event is 2 hours and 50 minutes. Due to this time frame and safety of our staff and children, we will extend the school day until 4:05 p.m. Buses will be released one hour later than their regular scheduled departure time,” wrote Perry.
Students in kindergarten through second grade can view the eclipse through live streaming while third grade through high school will be able to view outside with protective solar eclipse glasses. According to Perry, this is a special event, so parents or guardians will have the opportunity to “opt out” their child(ren) from outside viewing of the solar eclipse.
A meeting to discuss the educational opportunity this affords was set for August 16 at 2 p.m. in the School Board Conference Room, third floor of the Governmental Complex. Perry suggested those interested use the link provided by NASA at https://www.nasa.gov. for more information.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) both stress looking directly at the sun is unsafe and the limited opportunity for persons to do this is only when the moon entirely blocks out the sun.
The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters (eclipse glass) or hand-held solar filters. Alarmingly, reports have surfaced in the days leading up to the event warning “viewers” about eclipse glasses which do not meet international safety standards.
A link may be found at the American Astrological Society web site (https://eclipse.aas.org/), listing reputable vendors and manufacturers of solar glasses and viewers which meet safety standards. It is critical that viewers and glasses be inspected before use. People are reminded to read and follow instructions packed with or on the packages of solar filters.
Instructions for safe use of solar filters/viewers:
•Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
•Always supervise children using solar filters.
•If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
•Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright Sun. After looking at the Sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the Sun.
•Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
•Do not look at the Sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
•Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device; note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics. Those inside the path of totality may remove their solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. As soon as the bright Sun begins to reappear, replace the solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
•Outside the path of totality, people must always use a safe solar filter to view the Sun directly.
•According to the AAS, if eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, people may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through them for as long as they wish. If the filters aren’t scratched, punctured, or torn, they may be reused indefinitely.
•An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is indirectly via pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. With your back to the Sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the Sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse; you’ll see the ground dappled with crescent Suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave