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How to Watch the Great American Eclipse in Alaska and Hawaii

Posted by Ted Sturgulewski on

On August 21st, the Moon will pass in front of the sun, casting its shadow over the people of Earth. They’re calling it “The Great American Eclipse”, and luckily when they say “American” it isn’t followed by an asterisk excluding Alaska and Hawaii. While the eclipse’s “totality” will only occur in a handful of the contiguous states, the entire U.S. (and most of North America) will be able to see at least part of the solaar phenomenon. Those in Alaska and Hawaii will need to take a few extra steps to make sure they can get a good look, but considering the last time the entire United States was able to witness an astronomical event like this was in 1918, you won't want to say you missed it!

1. SET YOUR ALARM CLOCK!

 

 

The peak of the eclipse will occur at 1:20 pm in Carbondale, Illinois, with a 2 minute and 41.6 second window in which the town is completely engulfed in shadow. While the good people of Illinois will be experience the eclipse on their lunch break, Alaskans and Hawaiians will enjoying it over breakfast. In Hawaii the shadow will first fall in Hilo at 6:10am and end in Puwaii at 7:30, while Alaska's view will begin at 7:15am in Unalaska and end in Ketchikan at around 9:30. Hawaii will see around 30% of the sun's shadow, while parts of Southeast Alaska will catch over 65% of it! You won't want to miss this, so if you're a heavy sleeper you might want to buy a louder alarm clock

2. GET SOME GLASSES!

You’ve probably heard that you’re not supposed to look at the eclipse with your naked eye, and that advice is not to be taken lightly. There’s very real potential for partial eclipses to cause serious ocular damage. When the sun is partially blocked by the moon, it’s tempting to look up and steal a glimpse at the astronomical phenomenon. Even though it seems like the light has dimmed enough to be safe to stare at, the amount of light being delivered is still enough to do some real harm. Particularly dangerous are the UV light rays that are still present, which can literally scorch your retinas if you take too long a gander (and by “too long”, we mean just a few seconds). Compare it to going to the beach on a cloudy day: even though it doesn’t seem as bright, you can still get a sunburn from the invisible UV rays. The safest way to view the eclipse is through NASA approved eclipse glasses, which, if you hurry, you can still order here, here, or here. Regular sunglasses will not do the trick, and be sure to make sure that your eclipse glasses are ISO certified; you’ll regret not double checking! You can also make a solar eclipse viewer at home to safely view the event: 
 

3. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR RESOURCES

There’s a very real possibility that it will be cloudy on the day of the eclipse, or that you’ll be on your way to work or otherwise preoccupied when it all happens. Luckily, we live in the  age of the internet, which you’re likely aware of considering this post is a part of it. There are a ton of ways to view the eclipse online, and given the rarity of this event, even a digital experience of it will be exciting. One great resources is, of course, NASA. Their “Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA” event will feature views of the eclipse from all around the country, with video coming from people on the ground as well as astronauts in the International Space Station. It’ll also feature views of eclipse celebrations going on around the country and commentary from top scientists and astronomers. You also might want to check out Exploratorium, a science based museum in San Fransisco’s live stream: not only will they feature telescope views of the event, they’ll be accompanying it with a “sonification” of the eclipse by a string quartet! There are a number of other organizations that will be putting their own special twist on the solar eclipse, from exploring the history and science of eclipses, creating a VR experience for the event, and even filming a Western bank robbery movie live during it! Check out the different ways to view the eclipse, and get the most out of the experience.

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So, there’s 3 tips on watching the eclipse in Alaska and Hawaii. Are you excited for the big day? How are you going to make "The Great American Eclipse" special? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy the show!


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