BALDWIN PARK – For the first time since 1979, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the contiguous U.S. on Aug. 21 – providing Baldwin Park Unified students with an amazing opportunity to learn about astronomy by experiencing a celestial phenomenon. Safety precautions should also be taken to view the event, since California’s eclipse will only be partial.
Viewing the eclipse can be a fun and interesting way to introduce students to the wonders of astronomy and encourage them to pursue a career in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field. The eclipse will give students a first-hand view of how planetary orbits work and provide insight in our sun’s atmospheric layers.
Partial and total eclipses occur due to a special coincidence of the moon and the sun being the same angular size. Since the sun is 400 times wider than the moon, but also 400 time farther away, they can sometimes coincidentally appear to be the same size in our sky.
For Baldwin Park residents, the partial eclipse will start on Aug. 21 at 9:05 a.m. when the moon touches the sun’s edge. At 10:21 a.m. the sun will reach its maximum eclipse, which is the best time for viewing, and the partial eclipse will end at 11:44 a.m.
Since California is not along the line of total eclipse, looking at the sun without proper protection is dangerous to one’s eyes and can cause blindness.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recommends viewing the eclipse with either special-purpose solar filters or glasses with ISO 12312-2 safety certification. A list of reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers for purchase or free can be found here (https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters).
While it is safe to view the eclipse with proper solar filter eye protection, residents should keep the following warnings in mind:
- Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, do not use it.
- Be sure to supervise all children using solar filters
- Cover your eyes completely with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking at the eclipse. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove the filter – do not remove it while looking at the sun.
- Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered optical device such as a camera, telescope, or binoculars.
- Do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses or using a hand-held solar viewer – the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and can cause serious damage to your eyes.
- Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with any optical device.
The total solar eclipse will be visible in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
The next solar eclipse that can be seen in the continental U.S. will occur on Oct. 14, 2023 and will be visible from Northern California to Florida.