Total solar eclipses are rare events. Transcontinental total solar eclipses such as the August 21 Total Solar Eclipse are rarer, still. The last total eclipse to impact the US was in 1979 and was limited to a few states in the Northwest.
Just think of the impact on our lives made available through the changes in technology from the late 70’s until now. Cell phones had just been invented but weren’t commercially viable until the mid-1990s. The first personal computers were introduced in 1975 but, like mobile phones, weren’t widely used by consumers until the 1990’s. And it wasn’t until the 1990’s that the World Wide Web changed how we communicate and exchange information. And the smartphones, smart tablets and other devices we take for granted today did not exist until the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007 – a brief 10 years ago.
You have a multitude of technical options to experience the eclipse. From inexpensive solar safe paper glasses to the most sophisticated solar viewing instruments ever made available to the general public, your opportunities to view, image, video and share the eclipse are only limited to your imagination.
We are fortunate the Eclipse will happen this month as weather patterns for much of the US in August lessen the chances for cloudy skies during the big event.
The Astronomy Technology Today editorial staff would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the availability of our Solar eclipse equipment guide – The Definitive Equipment Guide to the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Our goal with the 40-page publication is to provide an easy-to-consume introduction to the technological options for viewing and imaging the Great Solar Eclipse.
We cover the gamut of options available including building your own solar viewer, solar glasses, smart phones, DSLR cameras, using astronomy telescopes, solar telescopes, using binoculars, solar filters (including a DYI filter option), CCD astro cameras, astro video cameras, webcams and much more. You can view the guide on our website here – its free and there is no requirement to sign up to read the guide.
The guide also provides a list of astronomy retailers to purchase solar glasses, inexpensive solar telescopes, and much more. A word of warning – order any equipment or other tools you plan on using on the day of the eclipse as astronomy retailer’s stocks are depleting rapidly with less than three weeks until the day of the solar eclipse.
Also, be sure to practice using whatever equipment you choose on a sunny day a few days prior to the Great Solar Eclipse to make sure it is working properly. Practice around the same time of the eclipse in your area to make sure there are no trees, buildings, etc. in the way. Even if you just watch the total eclipse phase of the event, it would be very regrettable to then realize it was happening behind a building out of view!