Don’t miss your chance to watch the only total solar eclipse of 2016.
The moon is scheduled to completely obscure the sun in what will be the only total solar eclipse of 2016. While the total solar eclipse will only be viewable from land in parts of Indonesia, viewers around the world will be able to watch it all online.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, partially or completely obstructing its view. When the moon completely occludes the sun it is known as a total solar eclipse. Solar eclipses can only occur during new moons, as that is the only time the sun and moon are in an alignment with Earth known as syzygy.
The point at which the moon completely obscures the sun, known as totality, is set to begin at 7:37 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 8, and will last for only a couple minutes. At this time, only the sun’s solar corona will be visible and the moon will cast a large shadow on Earth.
While there will be an annular solar eclipse scheduled to occur on Sept. 1, this will be the only total solar eclipse of 2016. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are in perfect alignment for a total solar eclipse, but the moon’s apparent size isn’t large enough to completely block out the sun. The last time a total solar eclipse occurred was nearly a year ago on March 20, 2015. The next total solar eclipse is set for Aug. 21, 2017.
You should never view a solar eclipse directly with the naked eye. Doing so can cause irreparable damage to your retinas, resulting in vision impairment and even blindness. If you intend on viewing the solar eclipse directly, you must wear glasses with specialized solar filters to protect yourself against the sun’s damaging rays. Sunglasses do not provide sufficient protection.
Additionally, if you intend to view a solar eclipse through a telescope or your camera’s optical viewfinder, you will also need to purchase specialized solar lenses for those devices. And while it is safe to view a solar eclipse through your camera’s digital viewfinder, it is not recommended without the use of a solar lens, as doing so may cause damage your camera’s sensor.
NASA and the Slooh Community Observatory will be providing live streams of the total solar eclipse for those who are unable view it safely or watch it where they live. Slooh’s live broadcast begins at 6 p.m. EST, with NASA’s live stream starting at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 8, 2016.