No one wants to miss out on Aug. 21's total solar eclipse. Here are some CCFR-approved tips to make sure you and your family are able to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event safely!
Viewing the Eclipse
The most-often given piece of eclipse safety advice — don't look directly at it — can't be given often enough. Looking directly at a solar eclipse can result in permanent vision loss.
Instead, viewers should wear an approved pair of solar viewers, purchased from a reputable manufacturer and featuring an ISO 12312-2 certification. Eclipse glasses are thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses and block out all other light. Keep a close eye on curious kids, who might be tempted to take their glasses off, or keep them indoors until the two or so minutes of totality, when it is safe to view the eclipse without solar viewers. Not everyone in St. Louis is in the path of totality; click here for NASA's map to determine where your location falls in the path.
Driving During the Eclipse
Parts of the St. Louis area will see a total eclipse, while others will see a partial eclipse. Tourists are already flocking to towns in the path of totality and traffic is expected to be a major issue in the area. If you are planning to drive somewhere to view the eclipse, give yourself plenty of time to get there and make sure you keep these recommendations from the Department of Transportation in mind if you end up behind the wheel during the event:
- Do not stop or park on the side of the highway. Not only is it a traffic violation for motorists to stop on a highway unless they're experiencing an emergency, it increases the likelihood of an accident.
- Do not take your eyes off the road to view the eclipse or use cellphones or cameras while driving to photograph the eclipse.
- Do not wear eclipse safety glasses while driving. The glasses filter out most visible light, essentially blinding motorists.
- Those living or staying inside or near the path of totality should avoid unnecessary road travel on Monday due to the increased volume.
- If you're behind the wheel when the sun is entirely or mostly blocked, turn on your headlights.
- Depending on your location, when the eclipse appears will vary. Plan travel accordingly if possible.