Friday, August 18, 2017

#Eclipse2017 is upon us

On Monday, August 21, thousands upon thousands will be watching as a total eclipse tracks across the United States, from coast to coast, for the first time since 1918, according to NASA. In the Greater Memphis area, about 93 percent of the sun will be blocked by the moon, starting around 11:53 a.m., reaching peak darkness around 1:23 p.m. and ending shortly before 3 p.m., according to projections by Vox. (See their interactive map.)

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division is preparing for the eclipse, which is raising awareness about the solar power generation. Tennessee ranks 24th in the nation for solar installations, according to Solar Energy Industries Association. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is also a proponent of solar power, purchasing power from approximately 3,000 customer-owned solar generation sites across the region, including more than 80 in Shelby County—the largest of which is a 1 MW solar farm at Agricenter International.  The eclipse’s impact on solar generation output will be similar to a very cloudy day, with decreased generation while the moon blocks the sun.  It’s important to realize that solar generation represents a tiny portion of TVA’s power supply, so TVA and MLGW will continue to provide reliable power.

At best, 93 percent of the sun will be blocked by the moon for Greater Memphis area viewers. That’s why looking directly at the sun is discouraged. Here are some other safety tips from NASA:

*The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.

*Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers (link is external) page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.

*Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.

*Always supervise children using solar filters.

*Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar 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 uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.

*Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.

* Solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.

* Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.

*If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

Additional safety information can be located at

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