White County Public Library

Cathy Farley Director 


     We're getting a lot of questions about the August 21 eclipse, so here are answers to some of the most common ones:

    "What is a total solar eclipse?"

  It's when the moon moves right in front of the sun, covering it completely for a very short time.  It darkens the whole sky and shows you the beautiful corona that surrounds the sun.  Stars come out, the horizon glows with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops, and day turns into night.  It's one of the most beautiful things you can ever see on earth.  

     "Are solar eclipses safe to view with the naked eye?"

    NO! Solar eclipses are DANGEROUS except for the lucky ones in the path of totality, and then only while the eclipse is TOTAL- ONLY THEN is it safe to view with your naked eyes.  The rest of time you MUST use protective eyewear.  

    "I'm sure I saw an eclipse when I was a kid, and it was interesting-but not like what you are saying at all."
   What you saw was a PARTIAL (or annular) eclipse, and there have been lots of those.  What we will see on August 21 is a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE, and they are truly a sight to behold.

    "Can I take photos of the eclipse?"
  Yes, but you will need a filter to protect your lens from the sun except during totality.  During totality, the eclipse will appear small in a photo and a zoomed in image will appear pixelated.  In short: it may be more trouble than it's worth without proper equipment.  
     "What it it's raining or overcast?"
  It will still get pitch black, but it's nothing compared to seeing the eclipse unobstructed.