COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - If you didn't see it, you missed one of the most dazzling displays of astronomy you've ever seen.
At 2:41 p.m., hundreds of thousands of Columbia residents and their new friends from out of state saw a total solar eclipse. Columbia was one of the best places in America to watch the event unfold.
And remember WIS is your official home of the Total Solar Eclipse. We will have live team coverage throughout the weekend. And on Monday we will count you down to totality.
Finding the Right Eclipse Glasses
Confusion has been the word when it comes to eclipse glasses in the past several weeks.
"Are my eclipse glasses NASA approved? American Astronomical Society approved? Have they been manufactured to safety specifications?" are usually the questions asked.
Well, here's what you need to know about the eclipse glasses handed out by cities and municipalities and those sold online.
NASA says in order to properly view the eclipse, you'll need a special pair of glasses certified by ISO and manufactured by these NASA-approved companies:
- American Paper Optics
- Rainbow Symphony
- Thousand Oaks Optical
- TSE 17
NASA also wants you to follow four simple tips when viewing the eclipse.
- Don't reuse old glasses. Unsafe after 3 years.
- If lenses have scratches, don't use.
- If lenses are wrinkled, not safe for viewing the eclipse.
- U.S. manufacturers recommended.
But what if you were unable to procure a pair of glasses? Well, you can always make your own solar eclipse viewer.
Using Your Eclipse Glasses
With certifications and specifications and approvals out of the way, here's how you'll want to view the solar eclipse, according to NASA:
- Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
- Always supervise children using solar filters.
- Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
- Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or another optical device.
- Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
- Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.
- If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
- Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.
- If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
So, Where Can I Watch the Eclipse?
As noted, Columbia has been listed as one of the top spots in the country when it comes to viewing the eclipse.
As such, the City of Columbia has set up five city-approved locations to watch the event if you want to take it in with a large crowd.
- Drew Park (beside the Charles R. Drew Wellness Center), 2101 Walker Solomon Way
- Finlay Park, 930 Laurel St.
- Owens Field Park, 1351 Jim Hamilton Blvd.
- Riverfront Park, 312 Laurel St. (The north end is also available for viewing at 4122 River Drive)
- Southeast Park, 951 Hazelwood Rd.
Where can I park? If you're in Columbia, here's a map of the best locations to park.