Confirming sunspots, 14 days before US eclipse

We pointed a slightly larger telescope at the sun this morning, having seen what looked like sunspots with our smaller scope, and sure enough, there one was.


The sun, from Gilbert, Ariz., today, 9:10 AM local time (MST), 6" Newtonian reflector, f/9.2

The path of totality, where you have to be if you want to see a total eclipse, is a little more than 70 miles wide and stretches all the way from the Oregon coast to the South Carolina coast. It touches Montana for a few acres of uninhabited land and otherwise goes through most of the states in between.

But the entire country will see at least a partial eclipse. If you haven’t got your eclipse glasses yet, you can make an inexpensive eclipse viewer out of common household materials. For a nice classroom project, NASA even has a site that will allow you to print out a pinhole viewer in the shape of your state using either a 2D or 3D printer.

Whatever you do, never look directly at the sun except during totality. Ever. Not even for a split second. And don’t point your digital cameras at it, because the sensors in those devices are about as sensitive as your retinas. The damage won’t be as life-altering, but it will be just as permanent.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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