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Viewing the 2017 Solar Eclipse

In case you’re late to the solar eclipse party, there’s a narrow line in the United States that will experience a total solar eclipse on August 21st 2017. (And if you’re also late to our coverage of the 2017 solar eclipse, more articles can be found by clicking on the Solar Eclipse 2017 tag)

NASA has provided several resources for you to plan in advance. If you’re someone who will be in the line of totality, during totality it is safe for you to not wear protective glasses to view the eclipse.


Remember though, it is only safe to do this when the sun is completely blocked by the moon. Viewing a partial eclipse without proper, certified eyewear can result in retinal damage that can lead to permanent blindness.

Celestial Celebrations

If you’re all set with eyewear, but want company for your viewing experience, you have some options. Many communities and cities are having solar eclipse viewing events.

For local readers/listeners of A Moment of Science, Indiana University will be hosting Celestfest. And if you’re someone who can’t get the day off or make it to the line of totality, NASA will have a livestream available for you to watch from the comfort of your office.

Citizen Scientists

Because wide-spread solar eclipses like the August 21st eclipse are rare, many scientists are using this as a chance to expand knowledge on a variety of topics.

Life Responds, which can be accessed by downloading the iNaturalist app, asks its participants to observe the plants and animals around them before, during, and after the solar eclipse. They’re testing whether details like birds not singing before or during eclipses, plants drooping, and squirrels preferring to be safely at home rather than out during a solar eclipse are apocryphal.

The Eclipse Soundscapes project is working to make solar eclipses more accessible to the visually impaired. People—and this seems especially aimed at people who will be surrounded by nature and not people, although all appear to be welcome to join—participating in this experience will record audio before during and after the eclipse for the scientists in the Eclipse Soundscapes project to use.

Whatever your eclipse plans are, may you have clear skies!

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