This Is the Gear You Need to View the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

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It’s tempting to stare at the sun during a solar eclipse, but if you try to do so without protection, you could damage your eyes. This image of a partial eclipse in 2012 was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite. (Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams)

On August 21, North America will experience the first total solar eclipse visible across the continent in nearly a century–and, while it may seem illogical, this period of semi-darkness is an important time to practice sun safety.

That’s because while during an eclipse, you won’t want to tear your eyes away from the show, staring directly at the sun can lead to solar retinopathy, a condition where light floods the eye’s retina. In 1999, 45 patients visited an eye clinic in Leicester, England, after viewing a solar eclipse without proper eyewear. About half of the patients suffered from eye pain; the others reported impaired vision. Although these eclipse watchers were not totally blinded, several incurred long-term damage.

The United States hasn’t experienced a total eclipse since 1979, and that one only passed over a small swath of the Northwest. This year, in contrast more than 500 million people in North America, plus parts of South America and northwestern Europe, will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. Those within a 70-mile wide pathbetween Oregon and South Carolina will witness a total eclipse.

A partial eclipse occurs when the moon blocks part of the sun from view. A total eclipse, in contrast, is when the moon completely blocks the sun. “Totality,” the part of the total eclipse when the sun is completely covered, lasts only around two minutes.

Most people in the continental United States live within a one- to two-day drive of the total eclipse’s path. Madhulika Guhathakurta, the lead program scientist for NASA’s “Living With a Star” initiative, says the breadth of the path makes the eclipse accessible to everyone. She says observing a total eclipse is transformative: “It’s akin to the way astronauts describe their first trip to space. You’re just so in awe of nature.”

To view the solar eclipse, you’ll need proper equipment. It may seem odd to don protection in the semi-darkness of a partial eclipse, but staring at the sun can cause retinal injury. The only time it’s safe to look at the sun without protection is during totality. Keep your equipment on hand, and put it back on when the sun starts to reappear.

Opt for gear featuring ISO-approved solar filters, which are about 100,000 times darker than everyday sunglasses. The American Astronomical Society’s website includes a list of manufacturers that have certified their products meet the ISO 12312-2 standard. If you purchase equipment from other outlets, double check that their merchandise meets ISO standards.

Whether you’re a stargazing neophyte or dedicated astronomer, this gear will help you make the most of a spectacular event.

These solar viewers give 2x magnification and protection from the sun during the partial eclipse.
These solar viewers give 2x magnification and protection from the sun during the partial eclipse. (Celestron)

Eclipse glasses and handheld viewers

Eclipse glasses look like hybrids of 3-D movie glasses and sunglasses. As Guhathakurta explains, these glasses have the added protection of a solar filter. Whereas sunglasses only block UV rays, eclipse glasses also cut off visible light.

If you’re a casual observer or part of a large group, you’ll like these glasses’ low prices and bulk packaging. You can buy a pack of five paper glasses from Rainbow Symphony for around $12. If you want a sturdier option, try these plastic glasses from American Paper Optics. And feel free to go for style: TSE17 has a $5.05 stars-and-stripes five-pack, and American Paper Optics features everything from Bill Nye glasses to astronaut-themed frames.

Looking for something between basic glasses and high-tech binoculars? Check out this handheld viewer from Celestron. For $9.95, you’ll receive two viewers with 2x magnification capabilities and a pocket eclipse guide.

Binoculars and telescopes

Binoculars and telescopes are pricier than eclipse glasses and handheld viewers but can be worth the investment. They feature a higher magnification, but higher magnification results in a shakier image––as power increases, the equipment becomes more sensitive to its holder’s small hand movements.

Binoculars are rated with two numbers. The first number is the magnification, the second is the aperture—the diameter of the front lens, measured in millimeters. If you’re buying a pair of binoculars and plan to use them for other astronomy viewing, the bigger the aperture, the better, but bigger lenses also mean heavier equipment.

The following options offer a range of viewing strengths. Celestron’s EclipSmart binoculars feature non-removable solar filters, so you’ll only be able to use them for solar viewing. A 10×25 pair (10x magnification and 25mm aperture) costs around $35, while a 10×42 pair costs just about twice as much. A cheaper option is Lunt’s mini SUNocular. A 6×30 pair costs $29.95.

If you prefer binoculars with removable solar filters, Meade has a $69.99 10×50 pair that works for both solar viewing and nighttime stargazing. Once you remove the solar filters, the binoculars will operate like a normal pair.

Telescopes offer some of the best eclipse views, but you’ll pay more for added detail if you want an advanced model. A basic lightweight option is the Explore Scientific Sun Catcher 70mm telescope. It costs $59.99 and can be used during both the day and night. A more advanced option is the $99.95 Celestron EclipSmart telescope. It offers 18x magnification, 50mm aperture and non-removable solar filters.

Another choice is the Meade EclipseView telescope. The cheapest model is a $79.99 82mm reflecting telescope designed for on-the-go use. A sturdier long-term bet is the 76mm reflecting telescope, which costs $129.99. Both models feature removable solar filters and are suitable for solar and nighttime use.

The Meade EclipseView 82mm telescope is designed to be portable, for eclipse watching anywhere.
The Meade EclipseView 82mm telescope is designed to be portable, for eclipse watching anywhere. (Meade)

Add-on solar filters

Another category of eclipse viewing gear is add-on filters. These can be attached to binoculars, telescopes and cameras not originally designed for solar viewing and are mainly used by experienced observers. Similarly to eclipse-specific gear, add-on filters prevent retinal damage. They also protect your equipment’s optics from the heat of the sun, as the intensity of an eclipse can damage gear designed for nighttime observing.

Filters are typically made of metal on glass (sturdy but most expensive), aluminized polyester film (also known as Mylar) or black polymer (also used in eclipse glasses). Rainbow Symphony sells black polymer and silver Mylar filters starting at $19.95. Thousand Oaks Optical and Orion offer higher-end filters ranging in price from $22 to $150-plus.

Pinhole projectors

If you want to view the eclipse without spending money on special equipment, you’re in luck. Stand with your back to the sun, and use your hands, a hole-punched index card or even a patch of leaves to create a tiny opening. As sunlight flows through the empty space, an image of the sun will project onto a nearby surface. For more detailed instructions, visit the American Astronomical Society’s pinhole projection page.

Guhathakurta’s final words of advice are simple: During the partial eclipse, “do not look at the sun without glasses on, but absolutely look at the total solar eclipse without glasses on. These are two binary events. When you wear glasses and you cannot see anything anymore, that’s totality.”

[“Source-smithsonianmag”]

Pokemon Go Is Introducing Legendary Pokemon This Weekend

Image result for Pokemon Go Is Introducing Legendary Pokemon This WeekendHIGHLIGHTS

  • First legendary Pokemon this weekend
  • Pokemon Go Fest attendees will have first chance
  • Will likely roll out to everyone on July 23

Legendary Pokemon are on their way to Pokemon Go, Niantic announced in a video on Thursday. The first chance at catching them will go to attendees of the Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago on Saturday, July 22. Players will have to work together to defeat legendary Pokemon, using the new Raids feature that was introduced last month. “Once in the wild, trainers can search for unique legendary eggs at gym locations around the world,” Niantic added in a statement. “Players can team up with friends and other trainers to join legendary raid battle to defeat the legendary Pokemon and earn a chance to catch it.”

If the players in Chicago’s Grant Park are successful in defeating the monster, raid battles for legendary Pokemon will begin rolling out around the world on Sunday, July 23. Players everywhere will get a chance to defeat the same Pokemon as those in Chicago. There’s no word on what this Pokemon will be, though we don’t have to wait long to find out.

Niantic has said that the legendary Pokemon – if caught – will behave the same as regular Pokemon, except they can’t be used to defend Gyms in Pokemon Go. Of course what they’re really about is showing off to your friends, and be on your way to catch ’em all.

Pokemon Go celebrated its first anniversary earlier this month, which followed on the heels of its summer update that included Raids as well as revamped Gyms. This month, Niantic also gave trainers the option to catch Pikachu wearing Ash’s hat.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

BSNL Plans Take on Jio, Samsung Galaxy S8 India Launch, Xiaomi Mi 6 Unveiled, and More News This Week

BSNL Plans Take on Jio, Samsung Galaxy S8 India Launch, Xiaomi Mi 6 Unveiled, and More News This Week

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Samsung Galaxy S8 is up for pre-orders in India
  • The Xiaomi Mi 6 launched in China this week
  • BSNL has announced a Rs. 333 plan with a 270GB data limit

BSNL is taking the fight to Reliance Jio with a new plan that offers 270GB data at just Rs. 333. Entitled the Triple Ace plan, BSNL is giving 3G data, up to 3GB per day, for 90 days at Rs. 333. After crossing 3GB, the speed gets throttled to 2G for that day.

You can also choose BSNL’s Rs. 349 plan, which gives unlimited local and STD calls and 2GB of data per day on 3G for 28 days, if you use less data and make more calls. Finally, there’s a Rs. 395 plan, which offers 3,000 minutes of BSNL to BSNL calls, and 1,800 minutes of calling other networks, with 2GB data daily at 3G speeds, for 71 days. BSNL has also increased daily data usage limit in its Rs. 339 plan to 3GB from 2GB offered earlier.

Reliance Jio meanwhile has started disconnecting numbers that have not signed up for any recharge plans. The network has been fully free since its launch in September, and now Jio has started to disconnect people who aren’t paying, in a phased manner. New TRAI data was released this week that showed Jio has managed to stay ahead of the likes of Idea, Airtel, Vodafone, and others in terms of 4G download speeds. Opensignal’s report meanwhile said otherwise, rating Airtel’s 4G speeds higher than Jio.

ALSO SEEAirtel 4G Is Fastest in India, Jio the Most Widespread, Says OpenSignal

One of the biggest items this week was definitely the India launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+. The launch event in New Delhi took place less than a month after the smartphones were unveiled globally in March, and the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ go on sale in India in line with the global rollout. Samsung Galaxy S8 comes to India a price of Rs. 57,900 (MOP) and will be available in Midnight Black and Maple Gold colour options, while the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is priced at Rs. 64,900 (MOP) and will be available in Midnight Black, Coral Blue, and Maple Gold colour variants. Pre-bookings are now open and the phones will be available from May 5.

While in the US Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor (2.35GHz quad-core + 1.7GHz quad-core), the smartphones launch in India are powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 SoC with an octa-core processor (2.35GHz quad-core + 1.9GHz quad-core). Samsung says the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ feature the “industry’s first 10nm processor, enabling heightened speed and efficiency”, and the highlight of the smartphones has to be their edge-to-edge “infinity display”.

Meanwhile, in China, the Xiaomi Mi 6 – which is Xiaomi’s new flagship device for 2017 – has been officially launched. The phone, which packs eye-catching specifications such as 6GB RAM and 12-megapixel dual-rear cameras, starts at CNY 2,499, or roughly Rs. 25,000.

ALSO SEEXiaomi Mi 6 Launched: A Look at How Xiaomi Flagships Have Evolved Over the Years

The phone comes with the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, with 6GB RAM, a 5.15-inch display, and a fingerprint scanner under the glass in front. Xiaomi has also decided to forego the 3.5mm audio jack. The Xiaomi Mi 6 has a 3350mAh battery, and as mentioned, a dual rear camera setup with 12-megapixel cameras, to delivery 2x optical lossless zoom. There is no word on the India launch yet.

Incidentally – if you’re running a WhatsApp group, keep an eye on what your members are saying, or you might end up in real trouble. WhatsApp group admins could face an FIR for offensive posts, as per an order by Varanasi DM. WhatsApp group admins must deny offensive posts and remove the member, and inaction can result in legal action.

Speaking of WhatsApp, Siri can now read out your latest messages, with the newest update to the iPhone application. With the new update, WhatsApp messages can now be read by Siri, apart from allowing it to compose and send messages, which was already possible. This will only work for unread messages.

ALSO SEEWhatsApp Looks Set to Get New ‘Change Number’ Feature

Launches this week included the Zopo Color M4, with 4G VoLTE support, launched at Rs. 4,999. The budget phone has 16GB of storage, a 1450mAh battery, and a 5-megapixel camera. We also got the Honor Bee 2, also with 4G VoLTE support launched at Rs. 7,499. The all-new Honor Bee 2 features a ‘Rainbow’ light which is a circular ring around the rear camera, and which glows when there’s a call, message, or any other notifications on the device.

Also launched this week was the Swipe Elite Star 16GB variant, priced at Rs. 3,999. It had originally launched at an 8GB variant. The Videocon Elite 11+ with 4G VoLTE support also launched this week, at Rs. 5,800. The phone, which has a 5-inch display and a 2-megapixel front camera, includes a front flash, 3000mAh battery, and 8GB inbuilt storage.

The Sharp Aquos R with Emop AI assistant, running the Snapdragon 835 SoC was also launched this week. The device has currently only been launched in Japan, and pricing and availability in other international markets is unknown at the moment. The Sharp Aquos R joins the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Xiaomi MI 6 to offer the Snapdragon 835.

There were also a lot of non-phone launches. We got the Panasonic Lumix TZ90 with 30x optical zoom and a tiltable display for selfies, and also the Sony A9 full frame mirrorless camera with 20fps burst and 4K video recording. There was also the GoPro Fusion 360-degree camera, expected to release at the end of the year, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick is finally in India. In case you had imported one of these earlier, then check for the latest update, and if necessary, make sure that your region is set to India.

ALSO SEEAmazon’s Fire TV Stick is Here, but the Indian Apps Just Don’t Seem Ready

The Moto C and Moto C Plus were spotted on a certification site, which usually points to an imminent launch. The phones are being touted as entry-level smartphones that are said to be even cheaper than the Moto E series. These smartphones are also expected to support 4G with VoLTE and may sport polycarbonate bodies with removable back panels, based on recent renders. The Moto E4 was also spotted on benchmark sites, packing 2GB of RAM.

We also picked up some rumours about the price of the LG G6 in India – Mumbai-based retailer Mahesh Telecom has leaked that the LG G6 will be launched starting at Rs. 51,990 (MOP) and it will go on sale from April 29. Pre-bookings for the smartphone have already begun and this week we detailed some pre-booking offers as well. It will officially launch in India on Monday.

HTC’s upcoming ‘squeezable’ smartphone – which is set to launch on May 16 – meanwhile might have a name – the HTC U 11. The naming scheme works in two ways – the first being that the flagship comes under the U series which includes the U Ultra and U Play, and second the number 11 makes it a straight up successor to the HTC 10.

VR fans – we’ve got some good news and some bad news. The HTC Vive is officially confirmed to launch in India, as Gadgets 360 had exclusively reported. The bad news is that – as we had said – it’s priced at Rs. 92,990. In the US the Vive sells for $799.99, or around Rs. 52,000.

And finally, although there are still a few months to go, if you’re jonesing for a Game of Thrones, then you should check out the first pictures of season 7.

Those are all the biggest news highlights of this week. What really caught your eye? Sound off about it via the comments below.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

IB diploma results improve this year, Mumbai topper scores full points

Mumbai city news

Mumbai students did well in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) exams, which are equivalent to the Class 12 board exams, held in May. The results were declared on Wednesday.

Rahil Bathwal from Jamnabai Narsee International School, Juhu, bagged the perfect score — 45 out of 45 points — the highest in the city. The IBDP results are given in the form of grade points. Pranav Khemka came second with 43 points. Of 103 students, 12 scored above 40 and 32 scored between 35 and 39.

The overall performance in Mumbai schools was much better than last year’s, said principals. At Podar International School in Khar, Ritik Chopra was the topper with 44 points. Last year, their top student scored 43 points. “This year’s results are one of the best in the history of our institution,” said Vandana Lulla, director and principal of the school.

Of 52 exam takers, a majority of the students scored above 40 points, and bagged six and seven points in individual subjects. “We had opted for new subjects such as environmental studies and Spanish, which help drive up scores,” said Lulla.

Similarly, the highest in SVKM’s JV Parekh International School, Vile Parle, this year is 40 points with 65% out of 37 students from the school receiving 33 points. Around 39% of entries scored 6 and 7 grade points.

School principal, Swaminathan said 60% students from the batch received admissions to top universities in Toronto, British Columbia, California, Edinburgh, Illinois Urbana Champagne and King’s College London.

 

[“source-hindustantimes”]