How to view the 2017 solar eclipse


TED SIMONS: NEXT MONDAY MORNING AT ABOUT 9:15, THE SKIES WILL DARKEN AS THE MOON BEGINS ITS MARCH TO BLOCK THE SUN. FOR SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, IT WILL BE A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN, BUT WHAT ABOUT ARIZONA? JOINING US NOW IS PATRICK YOUNG, A THEORETICAL ASTROPHYSICIST AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT A-S-U’S SCHOOL OF EARTH AND SCIENCE EXPLORATION.GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. WHAT EXACTLY IS A SOLAR ECLIPSE?

PATRICK YOUNG: WE ARE BENEFITING FROM A REALLY COOL COINCIDENCE. BASIC IDEA OF AN ECLIPSE IS THAT AS THE MOON ORBITS AROUND THE EARTH ON OCCASION IT GETS RIGHT BETWEEN US AND THE SUN. AND IT TURNS OUT THAT THE SUN IS ABOUT 400 TIMES AS LARGE AS THE MOON AND 400 TIMES AS FAR AWAY. SO THE MOON ALMOST EXACTLY COVERS UP THE SUN.

TED SIMONS: A TOTAL ECLIPSE IN THE U.S. IS RELATIVELY RARE, CORRECT?

PATRICK YOUNG: CORRECT. THE LAST ONE WAS IN 1979. THE LAST ONE TO CROSS THE COUNTRY FROM COAST TO COAST WAS 1918.

TED SIMONS: MY GOODNESS. SO, FOR US IN ARIZONA, HOW FULL IS THIS ECLIPSE GOING TO BE? WE KNOW IT ISN'T GOING TO BE TOTAL HERE. BUT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SEE?

PATRICK YOUNG: ABOUT 70% OF THE SUN WILL BE COVERED BY THE MOON AND THAT WILL LEAD TO A NOTICEABLE DIMMING -- YOUR EYES WILL ADJUST BUT IT WILL LOOK LIKE A CLOUDY DAY.

TED SIMONS: A REALLY CLOUDY DAY OR JUST A CLOUDY DAY?

PATRICK YOUNG: A REALLY CLOUDY DAY.

TED SIMONS: IT WILL SEEM WEIRD, EVEN FOR US?

PATRICK YOUNG: DEFINITELY. AND IF YOU HAVE THE PROPER EYE PROTECTION SO YOU CAN LOOK AT THE SUN, YOU WILL SEE A CHUNK TAKEN OUT OF IT. JUST ECLIPSE GLASSES AND YOU CAN SEE IT WITH YOUR EYES WITHOUT A TELESCOPE OR BINOCULARS.

TED SIMONS: HOW DO YOU SAFELY VIEW A SOLAR ECLIPSE? I DON'T WANT TO GET BAD INFO OUT, I DON’T WANT PEOPLE HURTING THEMSELVES AND I DON'T WANT TO HURT MYSELF GETTING A LOOK AT IT. WHAT DO I DO?

PATRICK YOUNG: THERE ARE REALLY ONLY A COUPLE OF THINGS THAT ARE GUARANTEED SAFE. ONE IS TO GET A PAIR OF ECLIPSE GLASSES THAT HAVE A CERTIFICATION THAT IS CALLED ISO, 12312-2. ISO, 12312-2. AND THERE IS A VERY HANDY WEBSITE. ECLIPSE.AAS.ORG THAT TELLS YOU EXACTLY WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND TELLS YOU WHERE TO FIND THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE ACTUALLY FAKE ONES OUT THERE.

TED SIMONS: THAT IS WHAT I WORRY ABOUT. PEOPLE GETTING THESE THINGS THINKING THEY ARE SAFE AND THEY ARE NOT. WHAT ABOUT POKING A HOLE IN A PIECE OF PAPER. DOES THAT WORK?

PATRICK YOUNG: THAT IS ANOTHER EXCELLENT WAY TO DO IT. YOU’RE SAFE IF YOU’RE NOT LOOKING DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. TAKE A PIECE OF PAPER, POKE A TINY HOLE IN IT AND ALIGN IT WITH THE SUN SO THE IMAGE IS PROJECTED ON TO ANOTHER SHEET OF PAPER OR ON THE GROUND AND YOU CAN SEE THE IMAGE OF THE SUN AND THE PIECE TAKEN OUT.

TED SIMONS: YOU WILL SEE THE PIECE LITERALLY TAKEN OUT. WHAT IF I TAKE MY REGULAR SUNGLASSES AND HOLD THEM UP HERE AND TRY TO GET A REFLECTION OF THE SUN THERE? NOT THE GREATEST IDEA?

PATRICK YOUNG: NO, IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. NEITHER ARE ANY OF THESE SORT OF HOMEMADE SOLUTIONS YOU WILL SEE GOING AROUND ON THE INTERNET LIKE LOOKING THROUGH A CD OR POTATO CHIP BAG.

TED SIMONS: HAVEN'T HEARD OF THOSE.

PATRICK YOUNG: YOU WOULD BE ASTONISHED.

TED SIMONS: HOW ARE YOU GOING TO WITNESS THIS?

PATRICK YOUNG: I AM GOING TO IDAHO TO SEE THE TOTAL ECLIPSE.

TED SIMONS: ARE YOU DOING RESEARCH OR JUST ENJOYING IT?

PATRICK YOUNG: FOR ME, I AM JUST ENJOYING IT. BUT WE HAVE A GROUP FROM A-S-U PART OF THE ECLIPSE BALLOONING PROJECT AND THEY WILL HAVE ONE OF 55 DIFFERENT BALLOONS THAT WILL GO UP INTO THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE AND DO SCIENTIFIC OBSERVATIONS.

TED SIMONS: WHEN WE TALK ABOUT A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN, I WANT TO LOOK AT A COUPLE VISUALS. THAT IS WHAT YOU WILL BE SEEING IN IDAHO, CORRECT?

PATRICK YOUNG: YES. THAT DOESN'T DO IN IT JUSTICE BUT YES.

VIDEO: I SEEM TO REMEMBER WHEN I WAS A KID, IF IT WASN'T A TOTAL ECLIPSE, IT WAS PRETYY DOGGONE CLOSE. IT WAS WEIRD. IT WAS ODD. THAT IS GOING TO BE ODD FOR YOU, ISN'T IT?

PATRICK YOUNG: YEAH. I’VE SEEN ONE ECLIPSE IN EUROPE IN 1999. IT REALLY SHUTS OFF ALL YOUR HIGHER BRAIN FUNCTION. YOU HAVE THIS ATAVISTIC RESPONSE. THE SKY GOES DARK AROUND YOU, YOU CAN SEE BRIGHT STARS AND PLANETS, THINGS GO QUIET, ANIMALS STOP MAKING NOISES AND YOU HAVE THIS BEAUTIFUL SILVER FEATHERY CORONA IN THE SKY AND MAYBE A TINGE OF PINK AROUND THAT BLACK, BLACK SPOT.

TED SIMONS: WE HAVE ONE MORE GRAPHIC, IT SHOWS A MAP AND WHO IS GOING TO GET THE FULL ECLIPSES. IT IS THE DARKEST ONE THERE. YOU’RE UP THERE IN IDAHO AND WE’RE DOWN THERE AT ABOUT 75 PERCENT-ISH?

PATRICK YOUNG: YEAH, WE’RE UP THERE.

TED SIMONS: AND ASU HAS STUFF GOING ON AS WELL FOR THOSE WHO ARE CURIOUS?

PATRICK YOUNG: THERE ARE GOING TO BE TELESCOPES AND ECLIPSE GLASSES FOR THE FIRST TWO THOUSAND PEOPLE THAT SHOW UP. I WILL WARN EVERYONE THIS IS THE FIRST FULL WEEK OF CLASSES AND PARKING WILL BE A NIGHTMARE.

TED SIMONS: CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING UP TO IDAHO FOR SEEING THIS AND THANK YOU FOR THE INFORMATION. CERTAINLY APPRECIATE IT. GOOD LUCK ECLIPSE HUNTING UP THERE.

PATRICK YOUNG: THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

On August 21, at about 9:15 Arizona time, the skies will darken as the moon begins its march to block the sun. For some parts of the country, it will be a total eclipse of the sun, but not here in Arizona. Patrick Young, a theoretical astro-physicist and associate professor at ASU’s School of Earth and Science Exploration, will tell us more.

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Patrick Young, a theoretical astro-physicist and associate professor at ASU's School of Earth and Science Exploration

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