Here Is NASA's Advice for Watching the 2017 Solar Eclipse

In the style of an airline safety announcement, NASA describes how to safely view the 2017 total solar eclipse that will cross the continental United States on Aug. 21.

The NASA "airline attendants" caution against looking directly at the sun; instead, eclipse enthusiasts can use eclipse glasses, construct pinhole viewers, build pinhole projectors or even shape their fingers to project a view of the eclipse. It's also important to avoid looking at the sun with a telescope or camera viewfinder without a solar filter, and to avoid looking through a telescope with eclipse glasses on, as the concentrated light could hurt the glasses. [Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)]

Viewers can glimpse the eclipse directly during totality — when the sun is completely covered by the moon and a view through eclipse glasses is dark. The attendants warn viewers to be sure to stop looking before the first glint of sunlight appears again. You can research whether a total solar eclipse will be visible in your area, where you can travel to see it and how long it will last.

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Sarah Lewin
Associate Editor

Sarah Lewin started writing for in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.