Prepare now for enjoying solar eclipse

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Ready or not, the solar eclipse is coming!

This is a pretty big deal as it is the “first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years. It will also be the first total eclipse exclusive to the U.S. since before the nation’s founding in 1776. That’s why it’s being called the NATIONAL ECLIPSE,” according to www.nationaleclipse.com.

We encourage residents to make preparations now and become educated on what to expect on Monday, August 21 so you aren’t left, quite literally, in the dark.

Though this isn’t a disaster, such as an impending hurricane, it’s still critical to take a few precautions so you can stay safe.

A major concern with a solar eclipse is vision loss or other damage to your eyes.

“The small amount of light emitted during even a 99.9 percent solar eclipse is still dangerous,” according to nationaleclipse.com.

That’s why it’s imperative to wear special glasses or use filters that meet international standards for safe solar viewing. Be careful because NASA has reported that unsafe eclipse glasses are being sold. The American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable dealers on its website. The current standard for safe solar viewing is ISO 12312-2, which should be printed on the glasses and filters.

You also should not use your unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device to view the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun, although the brief period of the total eclipse where the sun is completely blocked by the moon is fine to view without a filter.

After making sure you have the proper eyewear, you need to plan where you will be during the eclipse.

This won’t be a good time to be on the roads, so find a good spot to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Barnwell State Park and Lemon Park are two settings for viewing parties in Barnwell County while Rivers Bridge State Historical Site and Denmark Technical College are options in Bamberg County.

If you are planning to go to Columbia or another big city, be careful because large crowds of out-of-state guests are expected. Hotels in those areas are booked. Even the Barnwell State Park’s campground and cabins are booked.

Stay safe but enjoy the celestial event.