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Polar Eclipse

Check out Ohio Northern’s plans for the Great American Solar Eclipse and safety tips for viewing

On Aug. 21, there’s more in store at Ohio Northern than just the first day of fall classes.

The Ohio Northern University observatory will be open to the public to view “The Great American Solar Eclipse” from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 21. The observatory is located on the west side of campus, off of Lincoln Avenue and near the baseball field.

“We will not experience totality in Ada, but the sun will be covered up to 85 percent,” says Jason Pinkney, Ph.D., professor of physics and astronomy and manager of the ONU observatory. “For viewers in Ada, the moon will make its first contact with the sun around 1:03 p.m., will reach its maximum eclipse around 2:28 p.m. and its last contact around 3:50 p.m. Thus, the sun will be partially blocked during the entire event.”

Pinkney warns that it is dangerous to view this event without taking precautions, and the observatory provides a safe and exceptional viewing experience.
“It is not safe to stare directly at the sun, even when it is 85 percent covered by the moon, but we will have several ways to observe this upcoming event,” he says. “These will include the standard ‘eclipse glasses’ and pinhole projection viewers. We will also have at least three telescopes with solar filters that will provide very high resolution. These can reveal sunspots and prominences on the sun.”

If you’re planning on viewing the solar eclipse on your own, make sure to take the necessary precautions*:

  • Never look directly at the sun without solar filters or viewers that have been verified as compliant with the correct international safety standards (ISO 12312-2).
  • Always inspect your solar filter before use to ensure it’s not damaged or scratched; if it is, discard it.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your solar filter or 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 sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or solar viewer. Solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens or other optics.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on and put your eclipse glasses over them or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

* Safety precautions sourced from NASA’s “Eclipse 101” safety webpage. For the entire set of instructions, see