CWU News

Safety Precautions, Crickets, and Weird Facts about the Eclipse From CWU's Bruce Palmquist

 The August 21 solar eclipse is a lifetime event. Although those in central Washington won't experience totality, it is still an incredible natural phenomenon. Central Washington University physics professor Bruce Palmquist offers some tips to make your eclipse viewing out of this world.

Safety First
Even with a 92 percent eclipse totality, Palmquist, CWU physics professor, cautions viewers to safeguard their eyesight.

"You need special eyewear to view the eclipse, period," he stated. "You can sustain permanent damage to your eyes from staring at the sun for prolonged periods of time."

Eyewear should be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, and should be marked as such—"sunglasses won't cut it," Palmquist said.

In addition, should you wish to take photos or video of the eclipse, your camera lens should be equally protected. Cell phone camera lenses can be used with an eclipse eyewear filter securely attached to the front of the lens. Dedicated solar filters must be used with regular camera lenses. These will prevent delicate electronic sensors from getting scrambled.

The sun is so powerful that even if only one tenth of one percent of its light were visible, it still would be greater than the light of 1,000 full moons. "You could easily read by it," Palmquist noted.

What to Look—and Listen—for during the Eclipse
Even without totality, there will be a lot to experience during the eclipse.

"You'll notice that animal behavior will change," Palmquist explained. "Nocturnal animals, like crickets and frogs will become more vocal. Birds may start to roost, and cows might start to bed down as if it were nightfall."

He noted that as the rays from the sun are blocked, the temperature will drop as well—"You'll definitely feel cooler!"

"This is a remarkable solar event, and I hope everyone has a chance to experience it—safely—on August 21," he concluded.

For those who would like to see the total eclipse, NASA will live stream the event at Totality will start at 10:16 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,