Published: Aug. 17, 2017
CU Boulder eclipse glasses with Flatirons in distance

The Great American Eclipse is coming up Monday, Aug. 21. Here's what you need to know to safely enjoy 2017's most highly anticipated celestial event.

Protect your eyes

The sun on eclipse day is the same as any other day—not more dangerous but not less. You can't stare at the sun without hurting your eyes, and this is true when only a small part of the sun is visible.

To watch the partial eclipse you need to protect your eyes with special, very dark eclipse-viewing glasses. These are not sunglasses. They are 1,000 times darker than sunglasses. Unfortunately, eclipse glasses are sold out at campus locations and many stores in the Boulder area.

You can also make your own pinhole camera to safely view the eclipse.

Inspect your gear

Always inspect your safety glasses or hand-held solar viewers before use, and discard if scratched, damaged or expired. Make sure your solar filters meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard, and always supervise children using such products.

Put down the camera

Do not use an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device—even while wearing your eclipse glasses. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury. 

Additionally, unless you have attached a neutral-density filter to your camera or smartphone, avoid photographing the eclipse. Camera sensors can be damaged if pointed toward the sun.

Where to watch?

If you'll be staying in Boulder for the event, the partial eclipse will begin around 10:23 a.m. and end around 1:13 p.m. The maximum eclipse will take place around 11:46 a.m.

For more information and safety tips on the upcoming eclipse, visit Fiske Planetarium.

Obviously the best place to view the eclipse is along the path of totality, but the second-best place to watch is from anywhere with an open sky, such as the University Memorial Center's fifth-floor terrace. Admission to the UMC viewing party is free, and the event is kid friendly.

The Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences will lead a small team using several solar telescopes to observe the eclipse on the lawn outside of Fiske Planetarium, which will be closed on Aug. 21. There is very limited space for the public, but media are welcome to attend.

You can also watch NASA's live stream of the total solar eclipse online.