You planned, prepared and invested time and money in get ready — and now the weather services are predicting 70 percent cloud cover during the solar eclipse.
“I had one Kansas resident who called to check and see what the probability of clouds were on this particular day, because for the last total eclipse in the 1970s he flew to Seattle to see it and basically got to watch a lot of clouds and didn't get to see the actual eclipse,” said Kansas State University climatologist Mary Knapp.
That could be the case for Harvey County today. Still, there will be a viewing party at 12:30 p.m. at Newton Public Library.
All is not lost. If your window of opportunity is rained out or clouded over, there is still a way to see the eclipse. Visit NASA online. NASA will offer live video, taken from aircraft, of the eclipse at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-live-stream. Broadcast will begin at 11 a.m.
According to Knapp, in this part of the country, time is on our side.
“Here in Kansas, the totality will be right around 1 p.m. CDT. The sun's going to be at its highest point in the sky, so we’re less likely to have trees or other things blocking our view of the sun," Knapp said. “So if the clouds don't make an appearance, you've got a fairly good shot of getting a very nice view.”
It’s been said, written, shared and “liked” many times, but it bears repeating: Don’t look at the sun directly with unshielded eyes, and if you purchase any kind of eyewear for viewing the eclipse, make sure it’s properly rated. Whether paper or plastic, your eyewear should say that it meets the ISO 12312-2 (sometimes written as ISO 12312-2:2015) international safety standard. Glasses and filters that are ISO 12312-2 compliant not only reduce visible sunlight to safe and comfortable levels but also block solar UV and IR radiation.
NASA offers up instructions for making a pinhole camera from a cereal box. See the attached video for instructions.
“When you're in that dark phase of the eclipse, your eyes are dilated more than they normally would be,” said Knapp. “So your eyes, especially your retinas, aren’t as protected from the incoming radiation, that part of the light spectrum that we don’t see. You can get a very dangerous and damaging level of radiation without protective eyewear. Use appropriate protective gear or use an alternate method to look at the eclipse.”
It’s possible that the eclipse might not just be something we see — it might be something we feel, too.