1. Archive

To look directly at an eclipse, turn to the Discovery Channel

Published Aug. 9, 1999
Updated Sep. 29, 2005

The Discovery Network plans three hours of live coverage Wednesday of something Mom warned you never to look at directly _ a solar eclipse.

The cable channel's cameras will follow the 60-mile-wide path where the sun is totally obscured by the moon, from its start in southern England, through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania to the Middle East and to its conclusion in India.

It's the most extensive live coverage of any event in Discovery's 15-year history and, the network believes, the first time TV has followed an eclipse in such detail.

Eclipse coverage runs from 6 to 9 a.m. EDT, with an hour-long wrapup that night at 10 p.m.

"Human beings have always been totally enthralled by eclipses," said Discovery general manager Mike Quattrone, "but if you wanted to see an eclipse, you had to be geographically lucky."

People shouldn't stare at the sun because there's a risk of eye damage, but cameras can safely capture an eclipse. Discovery will do more than beam three hours of the sun. It will explain the science behind the eclipse and show how people in each country react to it. The network hopes to climax its coverage with an arresting image of the eclipse over the Taj Mahal.

Discovery will pull its coverage together with the help of Discovery Europe and a dozen European TV affiliates.

The last total solar eclipse in the mainland United States took place in 1979. Discovery has time to make plans for the next one _ it comes on Aug. 21, 2017.