6 things you should know about the total solar eclipse

1. It is not more dangerous to look at a solar eclipse than looking at the Sun. What makes a solar eclipse viewing dangerous is that you are actually trying to look at the Sun. Normally, we don’t do that. It hurts. It burns our eyes, but when it’s eclipsing, people still try to do that. The only safe viewing during the partial eclipse phases is with solar filtering glasses.

2. Pets don’t need eye protection. Quite frankly, animals don’t care that we’re having an eclipse. Even our weather dog, Lola, despite her styling these ISO-compliant glasses, doesn’t need them. She never looks at the Sun and won’t during an eclipse either. It’s not in their nature.

3. There is a difference between 99% and 100% eclipses. The solar corona is only visible to us in the path of totality. It’s a sight you’ve probably never seen before and can only see if you are in the path of 100% total eclipse where during that short period of time it is safe to remove your solar glasses and look at the Sun’s corona without them.

4. It really is once-in-a-lifetime. You may remember making the pin-hole viewers back in elementary school for one of our *partial* solar eclipses, but this one is a total eclipse. There has not been a total eclipse anywhere in Kansas since 1918 and there will not be another to pass over the Sunflower State until 2045, but that one will pass over Southwest Kansas.

5. Don’t point your camera at a partially eclipsed Sun. That includes your smartphone. It can easily burn into the sensors on a high-quality camera. It may not damage as much on a smartphone camera, but it’s not worth the risk and the photos won’t really show it well anyway.

6. Get where you’re going early enough to see it. Consider that 2/3 of America lives within a few hours’ drive of the path of totality. No one knows how many will travel, but expect there to be traffic, especially all of those who try to rush out on a long lunch break to get into position. You don’t want your memory of the eclipse to be someone’s taillights!

–KSNT Storm Track Chief Meteorologist Matt Miller

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