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Solar Eclipse Safety
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By Public Safety Office
April 5, 2024

From the Upper Merion Public Safety Emergency Management Team:

On Monday, April 8, 2024, a Total Solar Eclipse will cross North America providing its best viewing for Americans in over a century. Here in Southeastern PA, beginning shortly after 2:00 pm until around 4:30 pm, we will witness approximately 90% obscuration of our Sun (Nasa, 2024). Because the extent of the Eclipse in this area is relatively uncommon, we wanted to highlight some things to know to keep our residents and visitors safe and informed during this event.

Since we are “outside the path of totality,” there is no time when it is safe to look directly at the Sun without using a special-purpose solar filter that complies with the transmittance requirements of the ISO 12312-2 international standard. For anyone who has welding goggles and helmets, be aware that they are not all created equally – many may not be tinted dark enough to protect your vision during the Eclipse.
An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is indirectly via pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. 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 any solar eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during a partial eclipse; you'll see the ground dappled with crescent-shaped Suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves. A colander makes a terrific pinhole projector, as does a straw hat, a perforated spoon, or anything else with lots of small holes in it. Do not look at the Sun through the pinhole (Nasa, 2024).

For their safety, pets should be kept indoors during the Eclipse. The sudden darkness may cause them to become confused, putting them at unnecessary risk for injury.

If you plan to spend the day travelling toward the path of “totality,” be aware that traffic is expected to be heavier along the Eclipse’s path throughout the Nation (USA Today, 2024). Use caution!

In preparation for the Eclipse, Upper Merion Area School District will be dismissing students early: UM High School at 10:40 am; UM Middle School at 11:10 am; and UM Elementary Schools at 12:00 pm.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting event, here are some links to check out:

https://science.nasa.gov/solar-system/skywatching/eclipses/solar-eclipses/the-impact-of-solar-eclipses-on-the-structure-and-dynamics-of-earths-upper-atmosphere/

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/faq

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2024/03/28/solar-eclipse-warnings-say-traffic-eyesight-at-risk-on-april-8/73122224007/

http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/solar_eclipses/TSE_2024_GoogleMapFull.html?Lat=40.10179&Lng=-75.37164&Elv=46.0&Zoom=7&LC=1

https://goldendognh.com/blog/tips-to-keep-your-pets-safe-during-a-solar-eclipse/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20simplest%20yet,running%20away%20or%20injuring%20themselves.

Enjoy this historic event and please, be safe!


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