The 2017 Solar Eclipse at Grinnell College

August 07, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Glasses

Grinnell College has purchased sufficient eclipse glasses for students, faculty and staff.

To facilitate distribution, we would appreciate it if each office/department sends one person to the Science Division office to pick up the number of glasses you need for your personnel.

Students can pick up glasses on the quad as we gather to view the eclipse.

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) across all of North America. The physics department and Grinnell Science Project invite you to join them on central campus to view it.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon blocks any part of the Sun. Here in Grinnell, the Moon’s transit across the Sun’s face will begin at 11:45 a.m. and end at 2:35 p.m. At 1:10 p.m. we will experience near totality with the moon blocking 95% of the Sun’s bright face.

From 12:30-1:30 p.m., faculty and students will be available to answer your questions and offer telescope views of the eclipse.

Safe Viewing

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar viewers or filters, such as eclipse glasses.

Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun.

Eclipse Glasses

To view the eclipse with eclipse glasses:

  • Always inspect your eclipse glasses before use; if scratched or damaged, discard them.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses before looking up at the Sun.
  • After glancing at the Sun, turn away before removing your filter — do not remove it while looking at the Sun.

Photograph or Film

To photograph or film the eclipse, position the lens of your eclipse glasses over your smartphone camera lens and view the eclipse on the digital screen.

Be extremely careful, however, to avoid glimpsing the bright sun with your unprotected eyes.

No eclipse glasses?

Use pinhole projection. To do so, you can:

  • Cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. With your back to the Sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the Sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.
  • Use a sheet of paper with a single pinhole, which will allow you to focus an image of the Sun on the ground.

By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view of the 2017 eclipse in Grinnell and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.