Saturday’s Eclipse – 9 of Louisiana’s Most Asked Questions
On Saturday, October 14, 2023, many eyes in Louisiana will be cast toward the heavens. Yes, many of us will be praying that the people we voted for in Saturday's election are smarter than their political ads suggest. While others will be hoping to catch a safe glimpse of what is being billed as "The Ring of Fire".
Since eclipses are like vehicle inspection stickers, we only pay attention to them when we have to, chances are you have more than a question or two about how to observe this celestial show during broad daylight. So, we've been paying attention to what people are asking on social media and we think we have most of the basics covered when it comes to Saturday's eclipse.
When Will the Eclipse Be Seen in Louisiana?
Naturally, it depends on what part of the state you happen to be in but in general terms, the skies will begin to darken across the state shortly after 10 a.m. The peak of the eclipse for Louisiana viewers should be around Noon or shortly thereafter. Again, it depends on your location. And the entire thing should be done by 1:30.
Is There a Charge to Watch the Eclipse?
No. You can see it from anywhere outside for free as long as the clouds don't obstruct your view. Now, certain viewing locations might charge an admission if you're going to a "watch party" but this is natural and you don't have to pay.
What is an Eclipse?
In this case, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun. The moon will "eclipse" the sun's light. For Saturday, because the moon is at its furthest point from the sun it won't block out the sun's rays entirely. Hence, the "Ring of Fire", where the outer edges of the sun will be visible behind the moon as the Earth is cast in shadow.
Can I Look Directly At the Eclipse?
No. No, you can't without risking major damage to your eyesight. Please, don't. NO.
Can I Look Directly at the Eclipse if I am Wearing Sunglasses?
No. No, you can't without risking major damage to your eyesight. Please, don't. NO. However, there are special "eclipse glasses" that you can procure. But, my guess is that if you don't have your pair already you might have trouble finding them at this late date. Many retailers such as Walmart, Target, and similar stores have had such glasses in stock but in most cases, supplies are limited or totally exhausted. Many local libraries have had the glasses too, but again we hear supplies are short if not totally gone.
Can I Look at the Eclipse with a Camera? Binoculars? Telescope?
These optical enhancement devices, your camera, binoculars, and telescope will actually concentrate the rays of the sun making the risk of eye damage even greater. The folks at NASA are warning you to not use a camera, binoculars, or telescope to see the eclipse even if you have special eclipse glasses. The intensified rays of the sun through those devices can actually burn through the protective filters.
When is the Next Solar Eclipse in Louisiana?
If you'd like to plan ahead for the next one you'll need to mark your calendar for April 8, 2024. That solar eclipse will be visible from Texas to Maine. Residents of Louisiana will experience coverage of about 85% during that one.
How Dark Will It Get During the Eclipse?
Louisiana is not in the 100% coverage zone for Saturday's eclipse but we will be in the 80% to 90% zone as far as coverage goes. That means you will notice a darkening of the skies mainly between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. It won't be totally dark but you will notice it. Think of how it looks outside on a very cloudy day.
What is the Safest Way to See the Eclipse in Louisiana?
We suggest you use verified eclipse glasses or attend a viewing party. However, you can make this handy eclipse viewer known as a pinhole projector. Here's how to do that.
Of course, if you can't make a pinhole projector, you don't have glasses, you can't get to a viewing party, you can always watch it on television. All of the major news outlets in the country will be following the eclipse across the country. To be honest, this will be your best bet to see the best pictures and you won't have to worry about any eye damage from watching.
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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells