How will Eclipse 2017 affect you?

Post Date:08/17/2017 4:43 PM

Monday’s solar eclipse will affect an estimated 500 million people across North America as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. Chapel Hill will witness close to 95 percent of totality between 1:15 and 2:43 p.m.

The Morehead Planetarium has sold 5,000 tickets to its solar eclipse celebration. Traffic around the planetarium will be heavy around the time of the eclipse. Plan to seek alternate routes and give yourself extra time to travel in downtown Chapel Hill. See below for more travel-safety tips.

Do Not Look Directly at the Sun

NASA reports the only safe way to view the solar eclipse is with special solar filters. Dark sunglasses do not provide enough protection against ultraviolet rays. You may not feel pain when looking at the sun while long-term damage occurs, which may develop later as partial or full blindness.

NASA offers these safety tips for the 2017 Solar Eclipse:

  • Do not look directly at the sun.
  • Solar filters, or eclipse glasses, provide the only safe way to look directly at a partial or total eclipse. Make sure they meet the ISO 12312-2 standard.
  • Make sure the solar viewer or glasses include the manufacturer’s name and address.
  • Do not use solar glasses that are older than three years or have scratched lenses.
  • Do not use homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses.
  • Do not look at an eclipse through an unfiltered camera viewfinder, telescope, binoculars or other optical device even with a solar filter. Those items magnify sunrays and can quickly damage the retina.

Eyes on the Road; Expect Delays

If you’re driving during the eclipse, the important thing to remember is focus. The sky may become darker during the eclipse, especially depending on cloud cover. You do not need special eyewear to drive or be outside, as long as you are not looking directly into the eclipse, which will be high in the sky and out of view of most drivers.

Do not attempt to view the eclipse while your vehicle is in motion. Take a moment to pull over in a safe location and view it with your protective eyewear (noted above).

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol offers these safety tips for driving around the time of the eclipse:

  • Do not wear eclipse glasses while driving.
  • Do not stop on the road.
  • Turn on your headlights.
  • Watch for people walking, rolling and biking along the road.
  • Do not drive distracted – park before attempting to capture the event.
  • Be patient.
  • Arrive early to your chosen destination.
  • Refrain from parking on the shoulder or median.
  • If involved in a collision with no injuries, remove vehicle to the shoulder and wait for authorities.
  • Please avoid calling 911 for non-emergency inquires.

More Information

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center:


North Carolina:


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