Eclipse viewing on Cape Cod?
August 1, 2017 8:12 AM   Subscribe

I will be on Cape Cod during the eclipse. Nowhere near totality, but it looks like we'll be able to see something. Is there a particularly good place to view it, or will any beach do? And where can we buy or get glasses?

It seems like most information is about being in/going to the totality path. Not us, but we'd still like to see what we can! Is there a good place to view it, or will anywhere do? Beach? wooded area? yard of our house? I'm not finding much on google....

Also, where can we find or buy safety glasses? Difficulty level: family includes three year old. I want her to see this, but I also want to protect her eyes at all costs.
posted by john_snow to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Anywhere you can see the sun will work as well as any other place. There's no need for a dark sky sight or anything like that. On the Cape there aren't a lot of hills or tall buildings so you should really be able to see it wherever you happen to be standing.

If you search Amazon for "eclipse glasses" there are dozens of results. I bought these and another pair that will fit over my glasses.

I think it will be about 2/3rds here, which is still worth looking at. It won't get dark but there might be a bit of an eerie light during max coverage. Keep in mind the process takes a couple of hours to go from nothing, to maximum, and back.

For the three-year old she's not going to really appreciate what's going on, so I'd put the glasses on her and hold them on, have her look, and attempt to explain what's happening.

Since there is no totallity here you absolutely cannot look at the sun without protection.

National Treasure Emily Lakdawalla just put out this guide for sharing the eclipse with kids.
posted by bondcliff at 8:21 AM on August 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I bought these (back when they were $10 a pack,heh), which I am pleased to see were made by a group NASA approves of.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:24 AM on August 1, 2017

Any place you can see the Sun is fine. Note that you won't probably notice much of a difference in light; even a 99.9% eclipse is hundreds of times brighter than the full Moon. If you're near a place that has trees, make sure to check out the freaky pinhole camera effect that happens during the eclipse.

For glasses, do be aware that there are a lot of non-tested glasses going around. To date, none of them have shown themselves to be dangerous, but to be safe, I would recommend buying from one of the trusted sources. Some good information here. What I've heard recently is that Walmart and Lowe's have bought up big stocks of glasses, so that would be the place I would recommend to go to get a few pairs. Many of the legitimate order sites have minimums of 50.
posted by Betelgeuse at 8:26 AM on August 1, 2017

And, just to clarify, depending on how paranoid you are, Amazon is not a safe place to buy glasses from at this point. See this article for a nice run down of what's going on. The upshot of the article is that most are probably fine, but there are a lot that have not passed the requisite certification to show that they're safe.
posted by Betelgeuse at 8:32 AM on August 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

There was an eclipse the summer I finished 2nd grade. My parents got a large appliance box (dishwasher?) so I could poke pinholes and sit inside the box to watch the projected bright circles turn into crescents. And of course I was running around most of the time (I believe we took advantage of the planned afternoon outdoors to do stuff like a picnic and flying a kite) but the box was a fun place to go back to and check on progress.
posted by aimedwander at 8:41 AM on August 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

You want to be near one or more trees, because you should look at the shadows and not just the sky. Those are safe to look at without glasses, too.
posted by fedward at 9:20 AM on August 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thanks everyone! Lots of good info. Betelgeuse - especially appreciate your answer as I am seriously not messing around with my daughter's vision. We'll go to Walmart or Lowe's and use the NASA info to ensure she's safe.

If anyone knows of any events on the Cape, please do share! I was surprised I didn't find even a local astronomy club event....
posted by john_snow at 9:53 AM on August 1, 2017

Make an eclipse viewer with ultimate eye SPF
1. Get two pieces of white paper, a small, 3”x3” piece of aluminum foil, some tape and a pin/needle (A fat pin makes a medium-sized image while a narrow one makes a small image. A hole punch makes a large but blurry image.)
2. Fold a piece of paper in half and cut a 1.25”x2.5” hole on the folded end of the paper. Open the paper. Tape aluminum foil over the paper’s hole. Take a pin or needle and carefully make a hole in the foil. The hole should be in the middle of the foil
3. Put the other piece of paper on the ground. Hold the paper+foil’s shadow over ground paper; adjust it until the sun spot appears on the ground paper. Adjust the paper+foil’s angle so that it’s oriented to the sun.
4. Adjust the distance between the papers to focus the sun’s image.

NASA's JPL has pictures demonstrating the viewer's construction.
posted by dlwr300 at 7:39 AM on August 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

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