Home Resource Center News and Announcements Precision Optics Materion Precision Optics Enables Scientific Research of Total Solar Eclipse Materion Precision Optics Enables Scientific Research of Total Solar Eclipse When the Sun casts the Moon's shadow across the continental United States on Monday, August 21 in the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years, it will also shine a proverbial spotlight on Materion. Specialized filters from Materion Precision Optics are in place on a large number of satellites and observatory telescopes. They will play an essential role in the collection of scientific data only available during total eclipses. NASA is funding 11 science projects across America to take advantage of the unique opportunity to learn more about the Sun and its effects on Earth's upper atmosphere. "For solar telescopes, our filters basically block the ultraviolet (UV) radiation," said Dave Harrison, Business Development Manager, Image and Sensing, at Precision Optics in Westford. Mass. "You're blocking all of the harmful rays and reducing the intensity so you can actually look at the sun." In an eclipse, he explained, even a little bit of sunlight peeking out from behind the moon is dangerous, because the UV radiation is still there. "In general, that's what all of our astronomy filters do," said Kevin Downing, Director of Precision Optics' Space, Science and Astronomy, and Defense products. "They allow viewing of the targeted wavelength and block anything else out. Astronomers use our filters to look at a star, or certain type of star, or even an area of the sky. The filter gives them a much clearer picture of what they're viewing." So, where will Downing and Harrison be on August 21? They will be hosting their own viewing party at Westford with fellow employees.