Bartholomew County Emergency Management investing in eye protective ware for eclipse

Bartholomew County Emergency Management is buying more than $5,000 worth of sunglasses in anticipation of the total solar eclipse in April.

The Bartholomew County Commissioners ratified an expenditure of $5,595 for the eclipse-viewing sunglasses, which are being supplied by American Paper Optics, LLC.

“We were working with the city and the visitor’s center on ordering glasses so there’s a large number coming through them as well, but our primary focus was county employees, our first responders and then distributing them out to some of the events,” Bartholomew County Emergency Management Director Shannan Cooke said.

The glasses are being paid for in part from BCEM’s budget from last year that rolled over, but the majority is through a grant totaling $8,000 that emergency management received from Duke Energy last year.

The total solar eclipse, expected on April 8, is when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. The sky will become dark as if it were night and those in the path of the totality, as with those in Columbus, “will see the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by the bright face of the sun,” according to NASA.

Looking at the eclipse without certified eclipse glasses can cause significant damage to the retina.

There was a total solar eclipse back in 2017, but Columbus wasn’t in the path of the totality. NASA officials predict there won’t be another one visible from the contiguous United States until Aug. 23, 2044.

The partial eclipse will start in Columbus at 1:50 p.m. and end at 4:23 p.m., with the total eclipse happening from “3:05:52 ET to 3:09:54 ET,” according to the Columbus Area Visitors Center.