Department of Physics and Astronomy

More Information about the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017time lapse view of Sun during a solar eclipse

On Monday, August 21, the Moon will slowly slide across the face of the Sun in an afternoon solar eclipse. The darkest part of the Moon's shadow will race across the US starting with the northwest of Oregon down to the southeast of South Carolina. People along this line will see the Moon completely cover the Sun in a total eclipse. Those not in the deepest shadow will see a partial eclipse, with the Moon covering part of the Sun, and the farther they are from the shadow the less of the Sun they will see covered. Everyone in the country is getting geared up for this Great American Solar Eclipse!

The eclipse is a long event since we are watching the Moon slowly move in its orbit around Earth, so you will have plenty of time to observe it! From Toledo the eclipse starts at 1:02 p.m. and ends at 3:48 p.m. The darkest part of the eclipse will be at 2:27 p.m., when the Moon covers 80% of the Sun.

people with solar eclipse viewers

Our event will take place from 12:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. outside between the Ritter building and McMaster Hall. It is free to all and all are welcome to attend. We will have a couple of safely-filtered telescopes looking at the eclipse. We will also have a couple dozen “Personal Solar Observatory Boxes” people can use and we will have a limited supply of solar eclipse glasses for sale for $3.00. If it is cloudy, we will have a web-stream of the eclipse from other locations playing in McMaster Hall in Room 1005 (the large lecture hall on the first floor).

If you are viewing the eclipse on your own, please do so safely so that you may enjoy future eclipses (like 2024 when the Moon's shadow passes very close to Toledo!). Even when 90% of the Sun is blocked, the sunlight is intense enough to damage your eyes if you stare at it too long. To safely stare at the Sun you need to view it through material that blocks most of the light, like eclipse glasses or welder's glass #14. Sunglasses or even multiple pairs of sunglasses do not block enough light to be safe. We are selling eclipse glasses for $3 each from the physics office, located in room 2017 of  McMaster Hall which is on the northeast corner of the main campus; however our supplies are limited.

pinhole projection

If you have a small mirror you can reflect an image of the Sun and project it onto a wall or the ground for safe viewing. You can cover a larger mirror with paper and cut a dime-sized hole in the paper (make it a triangle shape just for fun!) and you can reflect an image of the Sun on a surface 30 feet away. It helps to rest the mirror on something like clay so you can adjust it as the Earth rotates and to make sure the surface is in the shade so you can see all the detail of the Sun.

You can also make an image of the Sun using pinhole projection. A small hole will project the image of the Sun. You can poke a hole in paper, make a grid with your fingers, use a colander from your kitchen, or look at the shadow of tree leaves. Experiment with how the shape of the hole affects the image of the Sun.

If you are traveling to see a better view of the eclipse, NASA is tracking local events across the country but be mindful of increased traffic and travel times.

There are a lot of ways to celebrate this unique experience; NASA has a few suggestions, including a Flickr gallery and creating a time capsule. If you cannot view the eclipse or it is cloudy at your location, tune into to NASA's livestream feed.

If you take a selfie with the eclipse, we would love to see it! Please email it to us along with your story of the eclipse.

Last Updated: 8/17/17