DHS issues safety tips for eclipse

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The Department of Homeland Security issued a list of safety tips for Americans to follow in advance of the total solar eclipse to occur on Monday.

The United States will experience the first total solar eclipse from coast-to-coast in 99 years.

With the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, every state will see at least a partial eclipse. But a total eclipse will be visible over a wide area that will start on the Oregon Coast at 10:17 a.m. PDT and end 93 minutes later at the South Carolina coast.

The DML News poll for Monday asked if people planned to watch the eclipse (you can take the poll by clicking here). So far, more than 55% of people say YES, they will watch it take place.

Some of the comments we’ve received:

FROM MEGAN:  I am so excited about this today, I am taking the day off from work.
FROM RON: I am too busy working to see something so irrelevant.
FROM JILL: We have an eclipse every night in my house when we turn off all the lights, what’s all the fuss.
FROM MIKE: Safety tips are being issued by “experts.” Are my taxes paying for experts who specialize in stuff that happens once every 100 years? Sounds like an Obama appointee.

Here is the list of safety warnings issued by the DHS:

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will take place over parts of North America. An eclipse happens when the moon aligns between the Earth and Sun and produces a shadow obstructing the sun.  Observers from the 14 states along the path of totality will experience a total solar eclipse, where the moon completely covers the sun. Observers outside of this path will still be able to see a partial solar eclipse.

For those planning to watch the phenomena, it is important to do so safely. Looking directly at the sun is extremely dangerous except for during the brief period of totality which will only occur along the narrow path reaching 14 states. Ordinary sunglasses or homemade filters are not able to sufficiently protect your eyes. Special eclipse glasses that are compliant with the American Astronomical Society and the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard are thousands of times darker than standard sunglasses and allow you to look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun as long as you like. FEMA recommends using the AAS vendors to avoid purchasing counterfeit glasses.

With the last total eclipse occurring in 1979, viewing events that may cause large crowds and heavy traffic in some areas of the U.S. are anticipated. If you are going to be traveling to see the eclipse, FEMA has a few suggestions:

  • Check the forecast in advance and prep your vehicle with emergency supplies like jumper cables, a car cell phone charger, food, and water.
  • Download the FEMA app to keep you updated on the latest weather alerts.
  • Set a meeting place with friends & family at your viewing destination in case you get separated.

For boaters who plan on watching from the water, CBP advises filing float plans on the USCG smartphone app to make it easier for USCG and law enforcement to respond to maritime emergencies.

For more information on the total solar eclipse, safety and how to prepare, please visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/.

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