ENVIRONMENT

How to safely view the April 8 solar eclipse, yes even in Utah

Mar 13, 2024, 5:09 PM | Updated: 5:10 pm

Solar Eclipse...

A roadside vendor holds a special filter and watches a partial solar eclipse in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

(AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

SALT LAKE CITY — During the solar eclipse on April 8, millions of people from Dallas to Montreal will be in the path of totality and may see the moon totality cover the face of the sun, a phenomenon that changes day into night.

In Utah, the maximum eclipse — the deepest point of the eclipse when the sun is most hidden — will happen at 12:30 p.m., MST, on Monday (April 8).

About 70 minutes later, the eclipse ends as the edge of the moon leaves the edge of the sun.

For this year’s solar eclipse, the path of totality will be 124 miles wide.

According to NASA, 99% of people who reside in the United States will be able to see a partial or total eclipse from where they live.

If you plan to watch, are you prepared to do so safely?

This path showed the path of the 2017 solar eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina, compared to the expected path of the 2024 solar eclipse from Mexico to Maine and exiting over Canada.
Ernest Wright/NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Eye care for solar eclipse viewing

Never look at the sun without protection — partially or completely in shadow — because it will damage your vision.

“The danger is real for permanent vision loss,” said Dr. Russell N. Van Gelder, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

NASA warns: do not use eclipse glasses older than three years or those with scratches or holes.

Despite this warning there are many options to see the eclipse safely, including eclipse glasses or even an eclipse projector. 

“When watching a partial or annular solar eclipse directly with your eyes, you must look through safe solar viewing glasses (“eclipse glasses”) or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times. Eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; no matter how dark, they are unsafe for viewing the sun. Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker and should comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard. NASA does not approve any particular brand of solar viewers.”

— NASA

How to make an eclipse projector

According to NASA, you can create an eclipse projector using a cardboard box, a white sheet of paper, tape, a pin, scissors, and aluminum foil.

Viewers should position the box with the sun behind them so that sunlight can pass through a pinhole in the aluminum foil covering a hole on one end of the box. This will project a crescent sun onto a white sheet of paper taped to the inside of the box during partial phases of an eclipse.

To view the projected image, look through another hole cut into the end of the box.

These items will not protect your eyes during solar eclipse

Unsafe methods for viewing the eclipse include:

  • ordinary sunglasses,
  • multiple pairs of sunglasses,
  • neutral density or polarizing filters (for camera lenses),
  • smoked glass,
  • photographic or X-ray film,
  • “space blankets,”
  • potato-chip bags and
  • DVDs.

Related: Don’t stare at the solar eclipse without protection

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How to safely view the April 8 solar eclipse, yes even in Utah