Experiencing a solar eclipse is a magical experience that gives you the opportunity to learn more about how the sun, moon, and Earth align. Although solar eclipses occur two to five times a year, your ability to see one depends upon where you live in the world. Seeing a total solar eclipse is considered to be even rarer than watching a partial one, and it’s worth knowing how to make sure to enjoy this special moment properly. Avoiding these four crucial mistakes will turn viewing a solar eclipse into a beautiful experience that you and your loved ones will always remember.
1- Failing to Plan for Heavier Traffic
Viewing the eclipse might be a special experience, but it’s one that you can expect to share with thousands of other people. When there’s a chance to be in the path of totality, people flock from all over the area to be in the exact location. Ideally, you can stay the night in the location where you want to view the eclipse. If that’s not possible, then plan to head out much earlier than you think is necessary to ensure that you don’t get stuck on the freeway during the big moment.
2- Focusing Too Hard On the Center Line
The path of totality is typically described according to the major cities that it crosses. While there is a big difference between being in the path of totality and seeing a partial eclipse, you’ll have several miles on each side of the big city to enjoy the full effect. Depending upon your preferred viewing site, you can likely find smaller cities and rural areas that fall within the path of totality where you’ll run into fewer crowds.
3- Looking Directly at the Sun
Gazing at the sun is uncomfortable for your eyes on a regular day, but you’ll need to be especially cautious during an eclipse when the ring around the edge appears especially bright. To see the eclipse happening, you’ll want to wear special glasses that protect your eyes. Make sure to find solar eclipse glasses that are CE and ISO-certified, which lets you know that they’ve been tested to provide proper eye protection that lets you enjoy the best view of the sun.
4- Forgetting to Prep for Being Outdoors
A total solar eclipse only lasts a few minutes, but you’ll likely be outside for several hours enjoying the experience as the sun, moo, and Earth align. You’ll want to apply sunscreen as you would for any other outdoor experience. If you’re viewing the eclipse from somewhere other than your home, then you may also want to bring a portable chair along with some entertainment to keep you occupied until the big moment.
As a final note, you’ll want to remember that seeing a solar eclipse often involves traveling to the path of totality. Make sure to pack your glasses, sunscreen, and other essentials several days ahead of time. This way, you’ll be able to embark on your journey to see the eclipse with everything you need to fully enjoy the moment.