(KMID/KPEJ) – Solar eclipses are cool to look at as the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. However, it can also be very dangerous if you don’t exercise caution. Here are some tips on how to safely watch this celestial phenomenon take place.
You should never look directly at a partial solar eclipse. Only directly look at the eclipse when the moon completely covers the sun. Even when in total eclipse viewers should exercise caution.
Looking directly at a partial eclipse can lead to “eclipse blindness,” or solar retinopathy. Solar retinopathy is when the exposure to light damages or destroys cells in the retina, which transmits what you see to the brain. This damage can occur without any pain but can also be permanent. Experts say it may take a few hours to a few days to realize the damage has been done.
Looking directly at the eclipse can also cause distorted vision and altered color vision.
One option for safely viewing a solar eclipse is to use expert-approved solar eclipse glasses. Viewers must be careful as a tear or a scratch in the glasses can render them unsafe to use.
Another option, and perhaps the safest option, is to use pinhole projection. This helps you to not look directly at the sun, using a projected image instead.
This simple do-it-yourself project involves making a pinhole, thus the name, in a cardboard paper with the sun on one side and a piece of paper three feet away without obstruction to project on the other side. You should not look through the pinhole at the sun.
Other alternatives include:
- Welder’s glass without any scratches or damage
- Mylar filters without any damage
- On television or at a local planetarium, or observatory
Viewers should not use a smartphone, camera viewfinder, or any unsafe filters, as this either damages your eyes in the same way as looking at the sun directly or puts you at risk of looking at the sun directly when trying to line up the shot.
For more information, we have gathered some outside resources: