Eclipse preparation

Proper eye protection critical for eclipse view

Julie Schossow is a certified optician.

Joa LaVille a librarian.

Jim Bonser an amateur astronomer.

While the three have different occupations and hobbies, what they have in common is more than passing interest in Monday’s rare solar eclipse in which the path of totality — where the sun is completely covered — will cross from Oregon to Georgia.

And all agree it is critical Central Iowans have proper eye protection to directly view the eclipse.

Failure will result in irreparable damage to the viewers’ retinas resulting in permanent blindness.

While Schossow, owner-operator of The Optical Center in Marshalltown, is not selling solar eclipse glasses, she does know important details a buyer should be aware of before making a purchase.

“After putting on the glasses, one should be able to look up at a light and not see anything,” said the optician with 35 years experience. “Also, they should be ISO approved.”

Marshalltown Public Library Youth Services Director LaVille said she and staff handed out hundreds of safety glasses to residents of all ages while completely exhausting their supply.

“As part of a eclipse educational outreach program, we were able to get a supply of glasses and other material from the National Aeronautical and Space Administration,” said LaVille.

Consequently, she said the library has received dozens of inquiries about other sources to find safety glasses and other event-related information.

“We have been asked if one can wear a welding helmet to view the eclipse,” LaVille said. “We have been told it should have Grade 4 glass.”

Additionally, information on NASA-approved ideas for indirect viewing can be found on the library’s Facebook page.

The library also has an eclipse display featuring books and other information on the topic.

Bonser is active with the Amateur Astronomers of Central Iowa.

“We will be able to see 93.94 percent of the eclipse,” he said. (Midwesterners can see total eclipse in Columbia, Mo.). “It will begin impacting Central Iowa at 11:48 a.m. and will reach its mid-point at 1:09:40 and end at 2:34 p.m.”

Smart phone applications

Jeremy and Larry Park of Marshalltown’s Park Place Computers recently had information in their monthly newsletter about eclipse applications courtesy of Kim Komando at komando.com.

Eclipse Safari

“The Eclipse Safari app comes from the developer of popular astronomy app SkySafari. It includes a countdown timer, an interactive eclipse map, live eclipse updates, a viewing guide, and a news feed with articles which go in-depth on the eclipse.” Eclipse Safari is a free app for both Apple and Android.”

Total Solar Eclipse 2017

“The Total Solar Eclipse 2017 app from San Francisco’s Exploratorium is all about getting the most out of the eclipse as it’s happening. It features five simultaneous video feeds you can access right on your phone. It’s like having a real-time guide as the eclipse occurs.” Total Solar Eclipse is a free app for both Apple and Android.

Smithsonian Eclipse 2017

“The Smithsonian Eclipse 2017 app has many facets to it. It includes an interactive eclipse map and a virtual eclipse simulator. It also gives you easy access to a live NASA stream of the celestial event. The app is stocked with information from the Smithsonian Astrophysical

Observatory, a research institute that has been studying the sun since 1890. The app also includes an eclipse countdown, recent views of the sun, and a viewing and safety guide. ”

The Smithsonian Eclipse 2017 app is a free download for both Apple and Android.

For more information, visit sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com