Get ready for the August 21 total solar eclipse

GRIFTON, N.C. (WNCT) – “It’s gonna be the biggest celestial event of the decade,” remarked Brian Baker, the director of astronomy at A Time For Science in Grifton.

Scientists are gearing up for August 21st, the date of the first coast to coast total solar eclipse in almost 4 decades. Baker explained why it’s such a big deal.

“You have the moon. You have the sun, the Earth. They all have to be in perfect alignment. So essentially what we’ll see here on Earth is the moon getting right between you and the sun,” explained Baker.

Although the moon won’t totally cover up the sun here in the East, Baker said the East is in for a pretty good show.

“You’ll see the moon really over about an hour and a half cover up more and more of the sun,” said Baker. “It will reach a maximum where it’s covering up 92%. So you’ll just have this little sliver of the sun shining across this dark disk covering up most of it.”

Experts want to make sure you’re ready to view the solar eclipse safely. That’s why they want you to have a pair of solar eclipse glasses like these well before August 21st.

“They’re not the same thing as sunglasses though,” explained Baker. “So sunglasses will not protect you from the harmful radiation that can damage your eyes. These eclipse glasses block 99.997% of all the light that’s emitted from the sun.”

And Baker points out you want to be careful where you get your eclipse glasses from too.

“Don’t get anything from China because you could maybe get something that’s not of quality,” said Baker. “The brand that is kind of trusted the most that we even purchase from is a company called Rainbow Symphony.”

No matter where you get your eclispe glasses from, make sure they are ISO 12312-2 or ISO 12312-2:2015 complaint. You will actually see this written on eclipse glasses that are safe to use.

In Pitt County, A Time For Science in Grifton and Go-Science in Greenville will be selling eclipse glasses. You can also pick them up at Uptown Greenville’s Umbrella Market on Wednesdays.

A Time For Science is hosting a solar eclipse viewing party on August 21 from 1-4 pm. Click here for more details.

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