Topeka Receives Eclipse Viewing Advice from Kansas Astronomer

A Topeka-based astronomer and NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, Brenda Culbertson, is helping locals prepare for the upcoming solar eclipse by teaching them about its history and how to view it safely. With just over a week before the solar event, Culbertson held a class at Topeka’s Gage Park to educate locals on what to expect during the eclipse.

Safety is a paramount concern when viewing an eclipse, as staring directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage. Culbertson emphasized this during her class, stating, “You can lose your eyesight if you don’t look at the sun safely.” She demonstrated the correct way to watch an eclipse and also provided alternatives for those without eclipse glasses. She showed the attendees how to use homemade devices to observe the celestial event safely.

The history of solar eclipses was also part of Culbertson’s lesson, helping attendees understand the scientific and cultural significance of these events. She expressed her enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge, saying, “I like looking up and I like showing people what’s up there whether it’s day or night.”

The eclipse is set to occur from around 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 8th. Topeka will have a prime viewing location, with the city expected to witness approximately 90% of the eclipse. Residents, equipped with the knowledge from Culbertson’s class, will be able to safely enjoy this rare astronomical event.

For those interested in learning more about viewing the eclipse safely, NASA has provided a safety sheet which can be accessed online. This document provides additional tips and precautions for solar eclipse observation, ensuring that viewers can enjoy the event without risking their vision.

This initiative by Culbertson underscores the importance of local educational outreach in promoting safe practices during major astronomical events. Her efforts to educate the public about the solar eclipse not only raises awareness about the event but also ensures that it can be viewed in a manner that poses no harm to individuals’ eyesight.

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