Protect your eyes while watching solar eclipses
If you are lucky enough to be able to see a solar eclipse, you should make sure you protect your eyes and never look directly at the Sun at any point without proper protection.
The Sun’s UV radiation can burn the retinas in the eyes leading to permanent damage or even blindness. Keep in mind that this can occur even if your eyes are exposed to direct sunlight for a few seconds.
How to view a solar eclipse
The only way to view the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun safely is to either project or filter the solar photosphere’s rays.
Here are some safe options to view a solar eclipse:
Pinhole projector: An easy and inexpensive way to view the Sun is to project its image onto a screen, such as a sheet of white paper or cardboard. Projection works well with or without a telescope or binoculars. However, you must never look through the telescope’s eyepiece or side-mounted finder scope when aiming a telescope or binocular at the Sun to project a magnified image of the Sun on a screen.
Eclipse glasses: If you are not the D.I.Y. type, check in with your local natural history or space museum or your local astronomy club for where to rent or buy eclipse glasses.
Welder's goggles: NASA recommends welder's glasses rated 14 or higher. These can be found at your local welding supply store. Please keep in mind when using this option that welder glass grading may be different in different countries.
Aluminized Mylar sheeting: While this option offers flexibility - Mylar can be easily cut with scissors - please make sure that the sheets you use are aluminized and that you take the advice of experts while using it.
Many eclipse viewers and photographers use special solar filters to view the Sun during a solar eclipse. It is important to use the proper type of solar filter that is designed for the task. Check that filters do not crack under the Sun’s magnified and focused intensity. Solar filters must be treated with care or they can quickly become damaged and unsafe to use.
How not to view a solar eclipse
It goes without saying that you should not not look directly into the Sun without any protective eyewear during the course of the eclipse or even before and after the eclipse.
According to NASA, the following materials should never be used to view a solar eclipse:
Medical X-ray film with images on them.
Any kind of sunglasses.
CDs or floppy disks.
The bottomline is, do not take any chances. If you are unsure about the safety of a viewing device, talk to an expert first before using it.
Types of Eclipses
- Moon Calculator – Find times for moonrise, moonset and more
- Moon Phase Calculator – Calculate moon phases for any year
- Sunrise Calculator – Find times for sunrise, sunset and more
- Day and Night World Map – See which parts of the Earth are currently illuminated by the Sun