As you’ve probably heard, on April 8th, a total solar eclipse will grace the skies of North America.

This awe-inspiring event, the last of its kind visible from the contiguous U.S. until 2044, will see the Moon completely block the Sun, plunging the path of totality into darkness for a brief period.

The total eclipse will only be visible from a narrow path stretching across Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Check online resources like NASA’s eclipse website and the National Solar Observatory to see the path of the eclipse.

While Pittsburgh doesn’t fall in the path of totality, we will be seeing a 97.4% coverage. The eclipse will begin at 2 p.m. with the peak of the eclipse taking place at 3:17 p.m.

Before you step outside to witness this cosmic event, safety is paramount. Here’s what you need to know:

The Danger of Looking Directly at the Sun

 Gazing directly at the Sun, even during an eclipse, can permanently damage your eyes. Unlike a normal night sky, the eclipsed Sun remains dangerously bright. Your secret weapon for safe viewing? Certified eclipse glasses. These specially filtered glasses block harmful solar radiation, allowing you to witness the corona, the Sun’s outer atmosphere, which is usually hidden by the Sun’s glare.

Here are some tips for using eclipse glasses:

  • Look for glasses with an ISO 12312-2 certification label. This ensures they meet international safety standards.
  • Make sure your glasses aren’t scratched or damaged.
  • Never look through regular sunglasses, binoculars, or a camera without a solar filter.

The total solar eclipse is a rare and unforgettable event. By following these safety guidelines, you can ensure your viewing experience is both thrilling and safe. So, grab your certified eclipse glasses, find a viewing spot, and witness the wonder of the cosmos!

Information adapted from NASA and the National Solar Observatory