How to safely watch the upcoming Solar Eclipse over Kern County

Partial Solar Eclipse visible on Aug. 21
Posted at 8:25 AM, Aug 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 14:42:13-04

It only happens a few times in a lifetime, the chance to watch a total solar eclipse. Though we will only have a partial eclipse this far south, it's still going to be quite a sight for Kern County coming up the morning of August 21!

NASA says the last total solar eclipse visible over the contiguous United States was in 1979. So what about the next one? Well NASA has calculated that "the next annular solar eclipse that can be seen in the continental United States will be on October 14, 2023 which will be visible from Northern California to Florida. Following this, we will have a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 visible from Texas to Maine."

Here's what you need to know to enjoy and safely view the eclipse from Kern County:

For us here in Kern County, we'll see the moon dip over the top of the sun starting at 9:04 a.m. According to the site the peak of the eclipse for Bakersfield will happen at 10:20 a.m. with the moon covering a big chunk of the sun, but there will still be a large sliver of sunlight visible on the right side of the star. The moon will then keep passing down, clearing the sun by 11:43 a.m.

It is dangerous to look directly at the sun, especially because it won't be a total eclipse for us this far south, as it can cause permanent eye damage. So how do you view the eclipse safely? You can find a pair of eclipse glasses online, but beware of knock-offs. And you need to order your glasses before Monday, because they'll likely take a full week to ship out to you and some sites are actually already saying they're sold out.

My favorite trick is to make a solar viewing pinhole projector, which I have demonstrated in this video.

And finally, find me on Facebook and let me know how you'll be viewing the eclipse! I posted another cool movie here where you can watch how the solar eclipse will happen over our heads that day. I'll be doing some Facebook Live sessions leading up to the event to show you how to make a projector and talk more about the science behind the solar eclipse and I'd love for you to join in the fun!

As for our coverage that day, ABC News will be airing a special report from 10 a.m. to noon our time, so we will be live for a local digital show on this website!