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When can you take off your eclipse glasses? The moment to look for – NBC Chicago

Many will be looking at the sky with special solar eclipse glasses on Monday to witness the incredible live show, but for some there will be a brief moment when those glasses can come off.

This moment will only come for those in the eclipse’s coveted path of totality, which includes parts of southern Illinois and Indiana.

There, the Moon will align perfectly between the Earth and the Sun, resulting in complete darkness. The culminating spectacle will last up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds in total darkness, twice as long as the eclipse that darkened the skies in 2017.

But how do you know when it’s safe to remove your glasses?

Just before totality begins, those along the path may be able to see pearls of sunlight shining through the valleys and mountains at the edge of the moon. This effect is now known as Baily pearls, in reference to the English astronomer who made the discovery.

NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

A NASA photo shows the phenomenon known as “Baily pearls.” It occurs when the sun’s light rays pass through valleys along the moon’s horizon.

If you don’t expect it, the beads might disappear before you know it. They are usually only visible for a few seconds, according to astronomers.

The beads will disappear until a single point of light remains along the edge of the moon’s shadow. As the sun’s last rays pass through the valleys of the moon’s limb, the faint corona around the sun becomes just visible, according to NASA.

That’s when another mesmerizing light show will emerge, resembling a ring adorned with sparkling diamonds.

If all goes as planned, those in the path of totality will likely see a single ring. However, they might be in for a surprise.

A double diamond ring occurs when two bright pieces of the sun go out simultaneously at the start of a total eclipse or when two bright pieces appear as the sun returns at the end of totality, according to the Great American Eclipse website.

A total eclipse with the “diamond ring” effect is seen from South Mike Sedar Park on August 21, 2017, in Casper, Wyoming.

Once the diamond ring is gone and there is no direct sunlight, you can remove your eclipse glasses and safely observe the total eclipse with the naked eye.

But make sure to put your glasses back on before the whole thing ends.

As the moon continues to move in front of the sun, you will begin to see brightening on the opposite side from where the diamond ring emerged, according to the NASA website.

You will see Baily’s diamond ring and pearls again before all the sun is visible.

These phenomena may not be visible in Chicago and other parts of the United States that are not on the path to totality, but we will not be completely excluded.

Communities across most of the United States will experience a partial solar eclipse, with the moon appearing to bite the sun and obscure some of its light.

It is important to note that those who only experience a partial eclipse should continue to wear their glasses for the duration of the eclipse.

NBC Chicago

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