3 ways to observe the solar eclipse

For solar eclipse enthusiasts planning to take in the Great American Eclipse, FIU astrophysicist James Webb shares three ways to safely observe and enjoy the astronomical event, Aug. 21.

Buy eclipse glasses

Looking directly at the eclipse can cause blindness or eye damage. Regular sunglasses will not protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Special-purpose solar filters, known as “eclipse glasses,” are available for the public to buy, but Webb warns to be weary of fakes. For a list of reputable vendors from NASA, click here.

Build a pinhole projector

Enthusiasts can build a pinhole projector to safely watch the eclipse from home or work. It requires basic household items, including a shoe box, scissors, paper, aluminum foil, tape and something with a sharp point, like a compass or needle, to make a pinhole. For step-by-step instructions, see the video below.

Use a telescope

Do not point a telescope at the sun without using proper solar-observing filters. Never align the telescope by looking at the sun. Instead, project the shadow of the sun on the ground and make sure to get the most circular shadow. Webb also says to make to make sure the finder is off the telescope so someone doesn’t mistakenly look at the sun through it.

The Stocker AstroScience Center is hosting a solar eclipse watch party 12 — 3 p.m. at the FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus. A limited number of eclipse glasses and telescopes will be available. FIU astrophysicists will also be on-hand to discuss the astronomical phenomenon. For information on the event, click here.