There’s a solar eclipse today—should you watch it? Yes, but safely! Here’s how, when, and where to watch the solar eclipse. Plus, we’ve got a link to a livefeed that you can watch if you’re not in the eclipse zone.
Eclipses are not particularly rare events, we see four every year, sometimes more. A total solar eclipse, though, is certainly the most dramatic-looking of them. Observe:
No matter how tempting it is to just look up, though, do not stare at the sun—regardless of whether an eclipse is happening. There are much better (and safer) ways to watch live.
The first thing you want to do is figure out if you’re in the viewing area. Next year, the total solar eclipse taking place August 21st should be easily visible throughout the continental United States. This year’s, however, will only be visible from some of the Indonesian islands (specifically Sumatra, Borneo, or Sulawesi) or on a boat in parts of the Pacific Ocean. There’s also an Alaska Airlines flight that’s taking a detour so that passengers can watch the event from the sky.
If you’re in the viewing area this time around, NASA has a simple guide to making a DIY eclipse projector, to protect your eyes while watching:
Place a pinhole or small opening in a card, and hold it between the sun and a screen – giant sheet of white paper works – a few feet away. An image of the sun will be seen on the screen. Projected images of the sun’s crescent during an eclipse may even be seen on the ground in the small openings created by interlacing fingers, or in the dappled sunlight beneath a leafy tree. You can also use binoculars to project a magnified image of the sun on a white card. However, you must never look through the binoculars at the sun.
The best and safest route of all, though, might be to just catch the livefeed, like the one NASA is running below.
The eclipse will start at 8:38 pm, and lasts just four minutes and nine seconds, wrapping up at 8:42 pm (Eastern time), so you really only have a couple minutes to catch it if you want to watch live. The feed will start broadcasting at 8 pm, if you want to catch any of the pre-eclipse footage or NASA commentary. Or if you happen to prefer your eclipse in complete, mournful silence the raw video feed can also be seen right here.