Here’s everything you need to know about the sun’s (temporary) disappearance on Aug. 21.
By Lennie Omalza
In less than a fortnight, the moon is going to totally cover the sun. Known as a total solar eclipse, the moon will pass directly between Earth and the sun, completely blocking the view of our favorite star. However, it will only visible in certain areas. Still, all of America—including Hawai‘i—will be able to experience at least a partial eclipse.
As the moon obscures the sun on Aug. 21, it will create a twilight experience across the U.S. This moment of up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds of darkness—otherwise known as the “Great American Eclipse”—won’t be visible in any other country, and the eclipse’s path of totality will cross 14 states. It will be the first coast-to-coast, U.S.-only eclipse in 99 years. If you happen to be on the Mainland when the 2017 eclipse happens, here are 10 viewing locations to consider.
During that short moment the sun is blocked, not only will darkness fall upon the Earth, but the air will drop in temperature, and brighter stars and planets will be visible. The pale corona, or outer edge, of the sun, which is visible only during a total solar eclipse, will be a million times dimmer than the sun itself as it shines around the moon.
Though the total eclipse won’t be visible from our state, Hawaiʻi residents can still enjoy a partial eclipse. At 6:20 a.m., about one-third of the sun’s disk will be blocked by the moon. Until about 7:20 a.m., assuming the view isn’t blocked by clouds, you’ll be able to see the moon slowly uncover the sun. In Honolulu, the eclipse will be completely over by 7:25 a.m.
Earlybirds who plan on watching a piece of sun go missing should remember to be safe. Looking directly at the sun—even when it’s partially covered—can cause serious eye damage. As of Aug. 16, the viewing glasses are sold out at the Bishop Museum’s Shop Pacifica. If you’re adamant about seeing the total eclipse, NASA will be offering a live stream, or you can plan a trip to view the next North American solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.
Tips for Viewing the Partial Eclipse from Hawaiʻi:
Plan ahead and wake up early. The partial eclipse will be viewable for only an hour, between 6:20 and 7:20 a.m. HST.
Make sure you can see the eastern horizon from your vantage point.
Don’t attempt to view the eclipse without the correct gear. Get viewing glasses online. Welders glasses (shade 14 or darker) can also be used.
Inspect your glasses beforehand. If the solar filter shows any signs of damage, they are not safe to use.
If you wear prescription glasses, keep them on under your solar eclipse glasses.
While viewing the eclipse, stand still with your eyes closed and cover your them with the glasses BEFORE opening your eyes. Once you’ve glanced at the sun, turn your head away before removing the glasses.
Don’t attempt to view the eclipse through any other means, whether it’s a camera, telescope, binoculars or other device.
If you experience any type of vision issues or eye discomfort after viewing the eclipse, visit an optometrist as soon as possible.