Clouds in central Indiana lower visibility during solar eclipse
Update: Many Hoosiers dealt with clouds interfering with the visibility of the solar eclipse Monday. Peak totality for central Indiana was at 2:25 p.m.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—The Great American Eclipse will pass over central Indiana Monday afternoon, and thousands are anxious to witness the phenomena.
“The hype is that this is the first total eclipse on the continental U.S. soil in 38 years, and it’s the first one in the history of the country to only touch American soil and go coast to coast,” said Brian Murphy, Director of Butler University’s Holcomb Observatory.
As the moon passes between the earth and the sun, the sun’s shadow will cast down on the earth’s surface. A roughly 100-mile-wide path of totality will arc from the American northwest to southeast, casting the areas beneath into momentary twilight.
“Total eclipses occur about once every year and a half, but the path of totality is so narrow, only 100 miles, that you’re very unlikely to see one,” Murphy explained, “In fact, probably once every 375 years would you see one in your lifetime unless you travel to the path.”
Central Indiana will experience a partial eclipse; where only 91-percent of the sun’s light will be obscured. The eclipse will start around 12:57 p.m., peak at 2:25 p.m. and move on at around 3:45 p.m.
“If it’s totally clear skies it will be 90-percent darker, but, your eye automatically adapts for that because the iris of your eye opens and closes according to the amount of light so your eyes might not notice the difference for the dimming of that light,” Murphy says the best way to witness the eclipse is through authenticated solar eclipse glasses.
If someone couldn’t get their hands on a pair of solar eclipse glasses in time, or is fearful that they unintentionally purchased bogus lenses, experts say the easiest way to view the effects of the eclipse is to simply, look down.
Shadows cast during a partial eclipse will appear crescent-shaped; for example the light shining between leaves on a tree will translate into crescent-shaped shadows wherever they’re cast.
Murphy says partial eclipses are fairly common. The last partial eclipse in Indiana was in 2014, and the next total eclipse will pass over the Hoosier state in April 2024.
Many stores quickly sold out of solar eclipse viewing glasses and lenses. Carmel Clay Public Library said it passed out over 1,000 solar viewing glasses within a one-hour period, and Butler University’s Holcomb Observatory ordered extra shipments to meet last minute demands.
“These are very special glasses” said Dr. Rick Fienberg with the American Astronomical Society (AAS), “so when you look directly at the sun through these eclipse glasses you see a nice comfortable image of the su—typically a yellowish, orange-ish ball.”
The international community established safety standards to assure that solar glasses, or eclipse glasses, will adequately protect viewers’ eyes.
In the past, the AAS recommended looking for the “ISO 12312-2” stamp to verify that the glasses were manufacturer-tested to protect. But in the weeks leading up to the August 2017 eclipse, experts say they’ve seen reports of counterfeits flooding the market with the “ISO 12312-2” mark.
Instead of saying “look for this mark,” Fienberg says they are asking consumers to know the address and name of the glasses manufacturer, and cross check it with the lists provided by AAS and NASA.
Authentic solar glasses are designed to block out more than 99% of the sun’s light and harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation.
“If that comes pouring into your eye, you won’t even know that it’s cooking your retina because your retina doesn’t have pain receptors” Fienberg added.
Nick Feipel, an optometrist at Busby Eyecare says staring too long at the partial eclipse could cause permanent retinal damage.
“It could potentially scar and burn your retina just like a sunburn on your skin if it’s bad enough, it could be permanent and cause permanent vision loss so people need to take it pretty seriously,” Feipel added.
Capturing the Solar Eclipse:
NASA says taking images of the eclipsed sun ought to be done with safety in mind.
Just as your eyes need protection from harmful rays, NASA says cameras need protection too. Leading up to the eclipse, or during a partial eclipse, camera lenses should be covered by your eclipse glasses. Only during the total eclipse should lenses be taken off and the sun photographed regularly.
Apple told USA Today that iPhones will not be damaged by the eclipse because they have a 28mm wide angle lens. The same goes for most all smartphones and GoPros.