Eclipse Eye Safety - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Eclipse Eye Safety

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WSIL-TV -- When viewing a solar eclipse you must keep safety first.  The American Astronomical Society offers the following advice for viewing a solar eclipse:

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers.

Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun. To date three manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow SymphonyAmerican Paper Optics, and Thousand Oaks Optical.

Instructions for safe use of solar filters/viewers:

  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright Sun. After glancing at the Sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the Sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the Sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
  • If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright Sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is pinhole projection (to see how to make a pinhole projector, click here or for a helpful video on using binoculars for viewing the eclipse, click here).

A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.

This safety information has been endorsed by the American Astronomical Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the American Academy of Optometry, and the National Science Foundation.

Note: This document does not constitute medical advice. Readers with questions should contact a qualified eye-care professional.

(Source: American Astronomical Association)

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