The Hamilton Spectator

Here’s how to prepare for the eclipse

Test your viewers and make sure your kids know how to use them before the April 8 event


The April 8 total solar eclipse will be an incredible and memorable phenomenon for adults and kids, but it is important to consider safety when watching.

Looking directly at the sun without viewers can damage your eyes. Only during totality, when the sun is completely obstructed, can folks look without protective glasses. Also, not everywhere in the area will be in the path of totality.

Here’s what you need to do to enjoy the eclipse safely:

Make sure your solar glasses are legitimate

Just because solar viewers have an ISO number, it doesn’t necessaril­y mean you’re going to trust them on your kids’ eyes. Organizati­ons are warning that in the days leading up to the 2017 eclipse, online sellers like Amazon were flooded with “counterfei­t” glasses. Find list of legitimate retailers on the American Astronomic­al Society website.

You should have your glasses and try them out long before eclipse day.

While it is not possible for people to test the safety of protective eyewear at home, real solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standard will stop nearly all light from getting in, meaning they will look opaque. If you are wearing them in your home, you should be able to see almost nothing except the faintest light from the brightest light bulbs.

Looking at the sun through solar viewers it will look like an orange circle surrounded by a fuzzy halo — the sun’s atmosphere. It should not be uncomforta­ble at all.

Show your kids how to wear viewers in advance

Solar viewers are aren’t normal eyewear as the wearer can’t see through them unless they are staring at something incredibly bright.

Kids, especially the young ones, should practice wearing them before eclipse day. Children should know not to peek at the sun before and after totality — or take off the glasses while looking that direction. The youngest kids should always be supervised when using solar viewers.

Parents can download Totality App by Big Kid Science for free, it will tell you exactly when eclipse totality is starting and ending at your specific viewing location.

Find the right spot

Plan where you are going to watch in advance, whether that is your backyard, a nearby park, an event in another part of the city or if you are travelling to see it.

For folks in the path of totality, you will likely have a great view of the eclipse near home.

Find an unobstruct­ed view in the lead up to eclipse day. Make sure you know where the sun will be relating to your residence and nearby trees and buildings at about 3:20 p.m. If you don’t have a view from home, find a spot at a nearby park or public outdoor place.

Make travel plans

People watching the eclipse from outside the path of totality will need to keep their protective eyewear on.

If you are going to travel into the path, find a place to watch well in advance, spots at registrati­on-only events are drying up.

Expect an abnormal amount of traffic on eclipse day. The partial eclipse starts in the region at about 2 p.m. and ends after 4:30 p.m. Anyone travelling should leave for their destinatio­n long before the eclipse begins to avoid traffic.

The last place you want to be when a total solar eclipse is happening is stuck in a traffic jam.

 ?? MARK NEWMAN METROLAND ?? Sofia Davidson, 12, left, and her nine-year-old brother Atticus try on solar viewers that were handed out by the Town of Grimsby during March Break.
MARK NEWMAN METROLAND Sofia Davidson, 12, left, and her nine-year-old brother Atticus try on solar viewers that were handed out by the Town of Grimsby during March Break.

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