EDITOR’S NOTE: If you picked up eclipse glasses at the Meeker Library, DO NOT use them. The glasses received by the library have been recalled by Amazon.com. No matter where you got your eclipse glasses from, double check to make sure they haven’t been recalled and that they meet the required standards before you use them.
RBC | America will experience its first total solar eclipse in almost 40 years on Monday, Aug. 21 beginning at 10:17 a.m. in Rio Blanco County, reaching maximum totality at 11:39 a.m., and ending at 1:06 p.m.
Meeker and Rangely can expect to experience around 92 percent totality for approximately three minutes. During that time, animals may act strangely, and the temperature can drop up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Total eclipses are rare events, and many people are planning to travel to areas of 100 percent totality to experience this eclipse.
Warnings abound reminding people not to look directly at the sun during the eclipse (or at any other time), or risk serious and permanent damage to your eyes. There are ways to view the eclipse safely.
According to Dr. Jon Pederson, president of the Colorado Optometric Association, “The main eye health concern regarding direct sun exposure is “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns caused by high-intensity visible light. This exposure causes damage to the light-sensitive rods and cones of our retina, known as solar retinopathy. This damage may result in temporary or permanent vision loss and often takes hours, not seconds, to appear or manifest.”
Approved eclipse glasses have to meet ANSI Z81.1/ISO 12312-2 standards. If you’ve waited too long to order a pair (many online sites are sold out), you can still view the eclipse with a DIY project many of you may remember from the last total eclipse visible in Colorado in 1979: the pinhole box camera.
Start with an empty cardboard box, like a cereal box or cracker box. Boxes that are white on the inside work best, or cover the inside with white paper. Use duct tape to tape all the edges to keep light from leaking into the box. On the side of one end of the box, make a viewing hole. On the other side of that same end, make another hole and cover it with aluminum foil. Using a thumbtack or a pin, make one hole in the foil. To use the “camera,” turn your back to the sun and look into the viewing hole, with the pinhole toward the sun. On the back side of the inside of the box, you’ll see an image of the sun, and can watch the moon’s shadow move across the sun without damaging your eyes.
You can also repurpose a pair of binoculars into a projector by aiming the eyepieces at a piece of paper and the other end toward the sun. Do not look at the sun through the binoculars.
The eclipse will also be visible in sunlight filtered through the leaves of trees. As the eclipse occurs, semicircles of sunlight will appear—it’s nature’s version of a pinhole camera.
Residents are invited to come to the Rangely Library parking lot Monday at 10:45 a.m. to view the eclipse. The Rangely Area Chamber and the Town of Rangely will have a limited number of eclipse glasses on hand.
Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we’ll all be able to witness this unusual event firsthand. If not, NASA is providing two live feeds of the solar eclipse via NASA TV and NASA Edge. The NASA TV feed will include live video coverage from 12 different locations on the ground, jets in the air, telescopes and dozens of high-altitude balloons. The feeds should run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at www.nasa.gov/multimedia/ nasatv/