Take A Break From The Left's Fabricated Race War, Have Some Fun On Monday
The 2017 solar eclipse will cover 70% – 85% of the sun across Michigan on Monday, 21 August. Long range weather forecasts suggest some cloud cover in the 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM (EDT) peak Michigan viewing time, but not total cloud cover or any rain. Peak coverage of the sun by the moon will occur from 2:10 PM – 2:20 PM (EDT) in the Upper Peninsula and 2:20 PM – 2:30 PM (EDT) in the Lower Peninsula. The moon will cover some portion of the sun from about 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM (EDT) across Michigan.
The view from Michigan will not be as spectacular as the total solar eclipse which will occur 300 miles south of us, but it will still be pretty impressive. Because there will be no totality in Michigan, everyone here who wants to view the eclipse directly will require serious eye protection – no exceptions. The only safe way to look directly at the sun or the partially eclipsed sun is through special solar filters, such as ‘eclipse glasses’ compliant with ISO 12312-2: 2015.
There has been a lot demand for solar eclipse glasses and many vendors are sold out. Even worse, there appears to be a lot of chicanery going on with unsafe counterfeits being sold. Even the compliant solar eclipse glasses are sort of cheesy. It is exceedingly difficult to tell that your are getting genuine eclipse glasses compliant with ISO 12312-2: 2015 in this age of cheap Chinese knockoffs. Nothing here inspires confidence.
There is, however, an alternative.
Long before ISO 12312-2, astronomers used hardened glass welding filter plates compliant with ANSI/ISEA specification Z87.1 to view the sun. These 2 inch by 4.25 inch uniform density glass plates are sold by welding equipment supply houses and industrial gas suppliers catering to the welding trade. These filter plates are inserted in the viewing ports of the typical welder’s face shield and come in ‘shade numbers’ from 1.5 to 14. The darkest, Shade 14, is fully adequate for protecting your eyes from the sun.
A genuine ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 welding filter plate will be indelibly marked in a corner with the letter “W” followed by its shade number (1.5 to 14). Often this marking will be preceded by “ANSI Z87.1”, but not always. Buy them from a real welding supply house and you can have confidence in their level of protection.
ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015, Shade 14 welding filters are actually uncommon in the welding profession, and there has been a run on them with the approach of the eclipse. Retail prices normally run under $ 2.00 each, but there is quite a bit of price gouging going on right now. Some vendors have marked up their prices on Shade 14 filter plates by a factor of 10 or more. Shade 14’s are typically only used for very high energy welding, over 400 amps.
There is a workaround here, though, using an old welder’s trick.
You can stack two Shade 10 welding filter plates, or a Shade 12 and a Shade 8, together to produce light protection equivalent to a single Shade 14 welding filter. These shades are much more commonly used by welders and there appears to still be a good supply of them available at welding supply shops. No price gouging, either. Just assemble them together with a half inch strip of duct tape applied around their edges. Either combination produces a filter with light transmittance just less than a single Shade 14 filter. Doesn’t matter which filter plate you face towards the sun, works either way.
There is still plenty of time before the eclipse and you can test your filter plate assembly on the full sun beforehand. Right outside the door of the welding equipment supplier, actually.
The auto darkening, battery powered welding filters now used by many welders are expensive and usually max out around Shade 12. You could put a Shade 8 filter behind them (not in front!), but this is tricky and not really practical. Most of the auto darkening filters only work properly in a specific face mask, too. Single shade filters are made in plastic, as well as hardened glass, but the plastic filters don’t work very well for high intensity light. Get the hardened glass filters if you can.
Should you miss the solar eclipse on 21 August, it will only be 2,422 days until the next solar eclipse on 08 April 2024. This eclipse will be even better in Michigan. A small portion of Monroe County will actually experience totality then.
Think of Monday’s eclipse as a warm up!