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Partial eclipse visible in SWAR

By Staff, 08/17/17 10:15 AM


HOPE/PRESCOTT – Residents of Southwest Arkansas planning on watching Monday’s solar eclipse will be disappointed.

Due to the path the eclipse will be taking, South Arkansas will only be able to see a partial eclipse. The nearest area in the state the full show can be seen will be Little Rock.

In addition, current weather forecasts are calling for a chance of rain on Aug. 21 and the cloud cover, should the forecast hold, will block out pretty much all of the eclipse in this region.

But, according to eclipse2017.org, those in the north part of the state will get to see the full monty as the moon passes in front of the sun.

Even if the weather prediction turns out to be wrong and Monday dawns sunny with clear skies, looking directly at the partial eclipse is a bad idea as it can harm a person’s eyes.

Sunglasses may dim the visual range of light, but don’t always block out the harmful ultraviolet rays that can damage the eye. They should not be used as protection for viewing the eclipse.

In addition, those with telescopes or binoculars shouldn’t point them at the eclipse or sun if they are unfiltered as this can also result in eye damage. Even if someone has a telescope with a screw in solar filter, it shouldn’t be used as they haven’t been sold in years because of safety concerns.

One of the safest ways to watch an eclipse, especially for children, is, oddly enough, paper plates. Paper plates can be used to make a form of pinhole camera, as a small hole is punched in one plate, held up toward the sun, with the other plate held away from the first. This allows a person to watch the progress of the eclipse safely.

Then again, it’s relatively safe to watch the eclipse from under a leafy tree as the leaves create a form of pinhole camera. But, do not look directly at the sky and sun from beneath the tree, instead, look at the ground and watch the eclipse as it progresses.

For direct viewing approved eclipse glasses are available as they use special filters to block out the harmful UV rays. Anyone planning to use such glasses needs to make sure they are designed for solar viewing.

No. 14 welding glasses can also be used to watch the eclipse and can usually be found at welding supply stores. The #14 models aren’t as common as the #12, but two welding glasses can be “sandwiched” together to add up to #14.


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