NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A total solar eclipse, when the moon completely covers the sun, will be visible August 21. Tennessee is one of 14 states that will be in the path of totality, a 70 mile-wide path where the sun is completely blocked by the moon. The Tennessee Department of Health encourages everyone to enjoy this once in a lifetime event, but urges eye protection and common sense safety.

"The solar eclipse will be an amazing viewing and learning experience for children and adults, but it’s extremely important to take proper precautions to protect your eyes,’’ said Chief Medical Officer, David Reagan, MD, PhD. ‘’The sun is so bright that looking directly at it can cause permanent eye damage in seconds. It is necessary to use proper solar filters, such as the filters in eclipse viewing glasses from reputable manufacturers that meet the ISO 12312-2 standards, which should be printed on the glasses. The filters must not be scratched or damaged. People can view the sky without using any filters only during the brief period when the sun is hidden by the moon, which lasts at most for 2 minutes and 40 seconds."

If you plan to view the eclipse through a camera, you must place a solar filter on the front of the lens. because the lens may concentrate the light, making it unsafe to use eclipse glasses while viewing. The same is true for viewing through binoculars or a telescope, unless specifically made for solar viewing.
For more information on viewing safety go to https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety, or https://www.cdc.gov/features/solar-eclipse-safety/index.html.

Because parts of Tennessee are in the path of totality during the eclipse, many people are expected to travel here for the event. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security urges everyone to be safe on the roadways.

"I am excited about tourists visiting our state to experience this once in a lifetime event,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David W. Purkey said. ‘’The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be working extra shifts to make sure our highways are fully operational and to keep you safe. It is important to keep traffic flowing during the eclipse. We encourage eclipse seekers to attend one of the many events planned across the region and enjoy your stay in Tennessee.”

Road safety tips include:

  • Don’t stop along the Interstate or park on the shoulder
  • Exit the roadway to a safe location to view or photograph the eclipse
  • Don’t wear eclipse glasses while driving

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.

This news release can be accessed online at www.tn.gov/health/news.