The eclipse will look smaller than you think

HOUSTON - It's still going to be a great show, but gazing up next Monday afternoon with your solar eclipse sunglasses, you may find yourself thinking, "it looks smaller than I thought!"

In fact, seeing the sun today through my solar glasses, I was personally reminded of a green pea. Maybe you'll think it looks more the size of a quarter. The only way to see it as you have on TV or online is to view it through a telephoto lens or a telescope (and if you do, it MUST have a solar filter or you'll go blind!). This is because when looking at eclipse photos, 9 times out of 10 you'll see the more visually-compelling zoomed version. It's naturally easy to think and expect, "that's how big it really is."

At the sight of our tiny star (relative to the size of the sky), I found myself wondering if I might have a tough time distinguishing when the moon has actually started to cover the sun's disk. This process begins at 11:45am, peaking at 1:16pm (when it should be easy to tell), and then ends at 2:45pm.

Need it bigger? Here's your solution: Grab a pair binoculars or a small telescope set them up on a tripod a few feet above the ground and from there you can project the image of the sun to the ground below, or onto a piece of paper. The projection will look much bigger and easier to see, and you also don't need those special solar glasses to view it. Just grab a pair of sunglasses. This is a perk since the special solar glasses are in short supply and becoming harder to find with each passing day.

If all else fails, just find a shade tree and look at the ground. Beneath, you will see thousands of little miniature eclipses projected to the ground in place of dappled sunshine!

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