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  800 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville, TN 37203

 OPEN DAILY: Mon-Sun,10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 CLOSED: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, and Christmas Day

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Eclipse Safety

SOLAR ECLIPSE VIEWING BASICS

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT PROPER PROTECTION

Your eye is like a small magnifying glass, focusing light on the back of the eye. Focusing direct sunlight on the retina will damage it, often permanently. There are no pain receptors in the retina, so damage can occur that you will not feel or possibly notice until hours later. 

You never want to sunburn your eye! Your skin can peel; your eye cannot. So NEVER look at the Sun without a proper filter between you and the Sun.

Looking at the Sun on any day can be harmful to the eye, but you will want to look at the Sun during a solar eclipse, as the skies darken around you.

There are a variety of ways you can safely view the total solar eclipse.


DIRECT SOLAR ECLIPSE VIEWING

SOLAR FILTER GLASSES

Even with just 1% of the Sun’s surface visible in the partial phase, your eyes can be damaged. You need to be equipped with a pair of solar filter glasses* during the hours leading up to and following totality to look directly at the eclipse. The special lenses filter out all of the harmful ultraviolet and infrared light, and almost all of the intense visible light. Inspect your glasses for holes every time you use them by looking at a wall to ensure no light is coming through before looking at the Sun. Learn NASA's guidelines to ensure you have the proper glasses»

*Available for purchase in Spark! Science Emporium. Also included with indoor festival tickets.

 

SOLAR TELESCOPES & FILTERS

Specifically made for observing the Sun, these telescopes filter out all but a very small amount of light in the red part of the spectrum (H-alpha, or hydrogen alpha emission), which allows for viewing some surface detail, filaments across the surface and prominences along the side. Starlight is too dim to be seen with solar telescopes.

Alternatively, special filters are made to go on the front of a normal telescope. The filter must be securely fastened to that it cannot be pulled off or knocked off.

THESE ITEMS ARE NOT SAFE FOR DIRECT SOLAR VIEWING:

Black Trash Bags
 

Dark Sunglasses
 


Not even with 2 pairs!

Exposed Film
 

Smoked Glass
 

Netural Density Camera Filter

Telescope Eyepiece Solar Filter


INDIRECT SOLAR ECLIPSE VIEWING

PINHOLE PROJECTORS

Make your own pinhole projector by putting a small round hole in the middle of a piece of paper or cardboard. You can also cut a rectangle in the cardboard, tape a piece of aluminum foil over that, and then put a hole in the foil. To view the eclipse, hold the projector so that the Sun shines through the hole onto another piece of white paper or foam board that you can safely observe. Learn how»

MIRROR PROJECTION

Place a cosmetic mirror on a table and use it to direct light into a shaded area to project an image of the eclipse on a wall. This is an easy, inexpensive way to have a larger image of the sun than a pinhole projector. Over time the mirrors will need adjustment as the Sun’s position changes in the sky. Be careful though: the mirrors should be placed high enough so that people don’t casually look into the mirror and get a face full of Sun reflection!

ALTERNATIVE METHODS

Sunspotter (pictured)... a wonderful educational device that is actually a cleverly folded telescope design, which projects a 3” image of the Sun in a safe way. Easy to align and gently move with the Sun, this can be used anytime to show sunspots to groups of students or public.

Sun Funnel...  made from an oil funnel and a clamp that can be found at any auto supply store, a piece of projection screen fabric (other semi opaque fabrics work also) and an inexpensive eyepiece. Mount this to a telescope to show the Sun to a small group. (It can be used to show sunspots as well.)

Everyday Objects... look at shadows from the tree leaves or any household object (like a colander or a Ritz cracker) that acts like a pinhole – each hole is like a tiny pinhole camera and will make images of the partially eclipsed Sun. Be sure to project the shadow of onto a white surface (paper, foam board, the sidewalk) for better visibility. 

800 Fort Negley Blvd. Nashville, TN 37203
615-862-5160
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm
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