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Free eclipse glasses available

Use common sense to view eclipse safely

POSTED August 11, 2017 12:45 p.m.
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Note: The Great Bend Tribune no longer has eclipse viewing glasses.

More than 300 million people in the United States potentially could directly view the Monday, Aug. 21, total solar eclipse.
A total solar eclipse, which is when the moon completely covers the sun, will occur across 14 states in the continental U.S., including northeast Kansas, along a 70-mile-wide swath of the country.
A partial eclipse will be visible in every state. In Great Bend, up to 94 percent of the sun will be covered shortly after 1 p.m.

Free viewing glasses
• More than 6,800 libraries across the U.S. are distributing safety-certified glasses. The Great Bend Public Library will give them away at its Total Eclipse Party on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 3 p.m. There will also be a program by the Cosmosphere and Space Center of Hutchinson.
• Barton Community College Planetarium Director Tim Folkerts has some eclipse glasses. He will present informational shows at the planetarium on Sunday, Aug. 20, at 4, 5, 7, and 8 p.m. He will show a video explaining eclipses and talk about the event and how to observe it.
• Teachers can get a free pair of viewing glasses the morning of the eclipse, Aug. 21, courtesy of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. They will be available at the Business Showcase, a free event at the Panther Activity Center, following the USD 428 breakfast and Back-to-School Kickoff at Great Bend High School.
• The Kansas Wetlands Education, 592 NE K-156, will give away viewing glass during the KWEC eclipse party, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21.
• Also on Aug. 21, Barton Community College will have an Eclipse Viewing Party east of the Kirkman Center by the soccer fields from 11:30 a.m. — when the partial eclipse starts in Barton county — until 2:30 p.m. — when the eclipse ends. This is open to anyone who wants to come, and eclipse glasses will be available.

Safety first
Everyone who will witness this celestial phenomenon should do so safely.
“I would not suggest people ‘just look up’ since the sun can cause damage to eyes if people stare at it,” Folkerts said. “Sunglasses are not really any better. (ISO certified) ‘eclipse glasses’ are dark enough for people to look straight at the sun.”
NASA has similar advice, noting it is common sense not to stare directly at the sun with your naked eyes or risk damaging your vision. But, only with special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can safely look directly at the sun.
• NASA recommends eclipse viewing glasses should have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard.
• Children should not use the glasses without adult supervision.
“While NASA isn’t trying to be the eclipse safety glasses ‘police,’ it’s our duty to inform the public about safe ways to view what should be a spectacular sky show for the entire continental United States,” said Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s important that individuals take the responsibility to check they have the proper solar eclipse viewing glasses.”

Pinhole projector
An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially-eclipsed sun is with a pinhole projector. With this method, sunlight streams through a small hole – such as a pencil hole in a piece of paper, or even the space between your fingers – onto a makeshift screen, such as a piece of paper or the ground. It’s important to only watch the screen, not the sun. Never look at the sun through the pinhole — it is not safe.

On cable and the internet
NASA Television is offering a live program, “Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA” with real-time coverage of the event from coast to coast. The nearly four-hour program will include unprecedented images of the Aug. 21 eclipse from numerous spacecraft — including the International Space Station — high-altitude aircraft and balloons, and ground observations. Each will offer a unique vantage point for the eclipse. Additionally, the broadcast will include live coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals and museums across the nation, and on social media.
To watch the Aug. 21 NASA TV eclipse broadcast online and access interactive web content and views of the eclipse from these assets, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive .

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