Zyloware’s Guide to Eye Safety for Viewing the Solar Eclipse on August 21st
By Alexa Faeth
On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cast its shadow on the United States from coast to coast for the first time since 1918. The eclipse will start in Oregon around 12:05 PM ET and will sweep the country “leaving” the coast of South Carolina around 4:06PM ET. Those in this “Path of Totality” will see a total eclipse where the majority of the sun is covered up during this extremely rare event.
What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse is where “the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon” and the three bodies (Earth, Sun, and Moon) align in a straight line (google definition). This is a rare occurrence since the Moon doesn’t orbit in the same plane as the Earth and Sun. Solar eclipses happen around every 18 months, but what makes this solar eclipse so special is that fact that the eclipse will be traveling across the entire United States, from coast to coast (theverge.com).
Why exactly a solar eclipse is such a big deal:
Risks of Viewing the Solar Eclipse without Protective Eyewear:
With the excitement caused by the solar eclipse, organizations like Prevent Blindness, the American Optometric Association (A0A), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and more are warning citizens the danger of watching the solar eclipse without any eyewear protection (VM). Viewing the eclipse without any protection can cause “solar blindness” or retinal burns (VM).
This upcoming solar eclipse is one of the biggest astronomical events of the century and Zyloware is here to guide you through the do’s and don’ts during the upcoming phenomenon:
- DON’T: Use sunglasses, photographic film, neutral density filters, smoked glass or other materials (VM)
- DON’T: Look directly at the sun without eye protection, even briefly, except during totality of the solar eclipse (VM)
- DON’T: Look through a telescope without a solar filter on the large end of the scope. And never use small solar filters that attach to the eyepiece (as found in some older, cheaper telescopes.) Instead, use a telescope with a solar filter or a solar telescope.
- DON’T: Buy faulty solar eclipse glasses. Suppliers are advertising solar eclipse glasses that do not actually protect your eyes from the eclipse. Visit the AAS website to ensure that your glasses meet the safety standards.
- DO: Use glasses that have been approved by NASA and other affiliated organizations to view the solar eclipse. The American Astronomical Society has provided a list of reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers which can be found here.
- DO: Check with th AAS Guide to see if your solar filters are safe.
Happy viewing and remember to keep your eyes safe!