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Can't find solar eclipse glasses? Try Matzo instead.

Can't find solar eclipse glasses? Try Matzo instead.

Last night, we got to do a live video with Q&A with Irene Pease, the Friendly Neighborhood Astronomer. For everyone who missed out, never fear, we have Irene's answers below. 

 
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In case NYC runs out of cereal boxes, you can use matzo.  Don't look through the matzo, but look at its shadow on a flat surface  As the the sun shines through its holes, the shadow of the matzo will contain images of the sun.

Irene: I heard a rumor that Adorama got another shipment in on Tuesday, so they might still have some. I trust Adorama to have the real ones.  The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York (AAA) will have some for viewing at Pioneer Works, in Red Hook, Brooklyn, 1-4pm on Monday.

Real glasses will have the manufacture's name and address on them, as well as ISO 12312-2 compliance mark.  If you don't see the ISO and 12312-2 marked on them, throw them away. If the manufacturer isn't on the American Astronomical Society (AAS) list of reputable vendors, throw them away. 

If you can't get glasses, it only takes about 10 minutes is to make yourself a pinhole viewer from a cereal box, or similar cardboard box - the longer the better.  Here's a great NASA video for how to do that (also posted on my website): 

In case NYC runs out of cereal boxes, you can use matzo.  Don't look through the matzo, but look at its shadow on a flat surface  As the the sun shines through its holes, the shadow of the matzo will contain images of the sun.

 
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Irene: You can view the eclipse anywhere the sun is visible in the afternoon (1:20-4:00 pm). Keep in mind that much of the ground in Manhattan will be in shade from the tall buildings during the eclipse.  Find a place with a view of the southwest - a park, an open square, or a neighborhood with lower buildings will work.  The sun is going to be 50 degrees above the South West Horizon during the maximum eclipse and 40 degrees above the horizon at the end of the eclipse.

If you want to see part of the eclipse through a telescope, AAA will have viewings at Pioneer Works, in Red Hook, Brooklyn.  They plan to have some eclipse glasses on hand for viewing.

 
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Irene: Totality should look about the same, as long as it’s totality. The closer you are to the center of the path, the longer totality will last. For this eclipse, the range is 2 minutes to 2 minutes and 40 seconds.  Some eclipses can last longer … I’ver heard as long as 6 minutes! The preferred location for astronomers to view is close to the center of totality with the preference to be at the longest totality.

For this totality, Southern Illinois will offer the longest viewing. But even more important than the exact spot, is the need for clear skies!

 
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Irene: I believe there have been at least 2 total eclipses over the lower 48 states in the last century, but I could be off on that.  Next partial visible form NYC will be in 2021, than another total will pass though USA in 2024.

A partial eclipse is much more frequent that a total solar eclipse. The path of totality covers only 70-100 miles, while this partial is visible from the entire continent.

A huge thanks to Irene for answering our questions. Good luck out there everyone! 

We launched a Community Events Calendar

We launched a Community Events Calendar

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NYC Trails Guide: The Best Hiking in Each Borough