Conservation Connection – Eclipse viewing information and advice

By now you've heard the Great American Eclipse is coming up in less than two weeks. It will be an amazing event you won't want to miss. One of the best places to view this natural phenomenon is in nature itself. Dan Zarlenga with Missouri Department of Conservation visits KPLR 11 News at Noon to tell us more.

Q. What causes a total solar eclipse?
• Occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun in its orbit around the Earth
• Even though the sun is much larger than the moon, it is also just the right amount farther way to appear as the same size....an amazing celestial coincidence!
• As the moon covers the sun its shadow will cut a path across the entire U.S. and right through Missouri

Q. When will the eclipse occur?
• Monday, Aug. 21 (1 week from next Monday)
• For St. Louis Partial phase begins 11:48 a.m.
• Total phase goes from 1:15-1:17 p.m.
• Partial phase ends 2:42 p.m.

Q. Where can we view the eclipse?
• Southern portion of the metro area
• Center line will pass through Jefferson Co. (longest duration of totality)
• There are a number of conservation areas that will be great places to view, shown with a map on the MDC website

Q. What are some tips for viewing?
• Do not stare at the sun with the naked eye (even though the eclipse actually is no more dangerous than any other time)
• Use a pair of eclipse viewing glasses (available many places)
• Do not use a telescope or binoculars unless they have valid solar filters fitted in front of the optic to filter the sun`s light before it enters the tube
• Have an accurate time piece on hand (watch, cell phone)
• During the 2 minutes of totality the sun can be viewed with the naked eye

Q. What can we expect to see?
• During the partial phase you cans see the dark disk of the moon gradually moving onto or away from the sun's disk
• As totality approaches the sky will get darker, like dusk
• During totality the sky should appear similar to twilight or moonlight
• There will be a dark spot where the sun was which will be surrounded by the sun’s tenuous outer atmosphere, or corona

Q. Why is being out in nature a good place to view the eclipse?
• Somewhere with a wide open sky should give you the best effect
• It might be interesting to observe effects on wildlife
• Animals may get confused and behaviors may change, daytime birds may stop calling, evening insects might be heard
• No better place to see one of nature’s most awesome spectacles than in nature itself!

Q. Where can we find out more?
• MDC.mo.gov
• Includes a map of the path of totality for Missouri
• List of conservation areas for viewing and links to info and maps
• Chart of time schedule (varies depending on location)