How to Safely View Thursday’s Solar Eclipse

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A partial solar eclipse will occur in the skies over Central Iowa on Thursday afternoon. The last solar eclipse occurred in May of 2012, so it’s a sight that many people are interested in seeing. A solar eclipse occurs when the new moon passes between the Earth and Sun.  A partial eclipse means that only part of the sun will be covered. While it’s quite a celestial event, viewing a solar eclipse is very different than taking in a lunar eclipse, which we just recently witnessed earlier this month. Looking directly at the sun can damage your eyes.

Here are a few ways you can view a solar eclipse safely:

  • Use special solar glasses with mylar or polymer lenses.
  • Use a telescope with a special filter that will block out the majority of the sun’s light
  • Create a pinhole projector (easy project for you and the kids) Directions, click here.
  • Use any remaining leaves on the trees! Put a piece of white paper down on the ground in an area where light is shining through between leaves. You may be able to see the image of the sun with it partially blocked by the shadow of the moon.

Thursday’s eclipse begins at 4:31 p.m. for the Des Moines-metro. The eclipse will reach it’s maximum at 5:41 p.m.. The sun will set at 6:20 p.m.. The next solar eclipse, visible in Iowa, will be on August 21, 2017.

The Science Center of Iowa will host a Solar Eclipse viewing event on the State Capitol Grounds at the Shattering Silence Memorial. They will have telescopes with the proper filters so that people can come by and view the eclipse safely. It is a free event. Come by any time between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m..

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