Using a pinhole projection to safely view the sun. Courtesy Jet Propulsion Laboratory

San Diego is far from the path of the total eclipse on Monday, but the sun and moon will still put on a show locally. Here’s where and how to view it safely.

The moon will begin to obscure the sun here at 9:07 a.m., taking an increasingly bigger bite until 10:23 a.m., then appearing to back off until its gone by 11:46 a.m. At the peak, nearly 60 percent of the sun will be blocked by the moon.

Here are three ways to view the spectacle:

  • The Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park is hosting a free viewing party beginning at 9 a.m. And for the cost of admission, you can go inside and watch the live NASA video in the giant dome theater.
  • There will be sky parties at 27 participating City of San Diego libraries. Each will have a limited supply of viewing glasses, and some libraries will have live NASA video as well. A list of the participating libraries is available online.
  • Solar telescopes for safe viewing will be set up at City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges on Monday, which is also the first day of classes.

Can’t make one of these events and don’t have eclipse glasses? The first thing to remember is not to look at the sun.

“Directly looking at the solar eclipse is as harmful as sun gazing on a regular day. This causes damage in the retina, the light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye, and can result in vision loss, the severity of which depends on the duration of the gaze,” warned Hossein Ameri, assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at the USC.

However, you can make a simple solar viewer with just a piece of cardboard and sheet of white paper. Poke a tiny hole in the cardboard with a pin or thumbtack. Place the white paper on the ground and hold the cardboard a few feet above in line with the sun. An image of the partially eclipsed sun will be projected on the paper.

You can test your “pinhole projector” before the eclipse to make sure it works. Complete instructions from NASA for a slightly enhanced setup are available online.

What if the marine layer obscures your view? Head east until skies clear.

And if you’re stuck inside, there’s always NASA TV, which will cover the event beginning at 9 a.m.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.