How To Protect Your Eyes During The Solar Eclipse On August 21

Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 08/07/2017

man-watching-solar-eclipse-viewing-glasses-protectiveOn August 21, we'll get to witness an incredible phenomenon: a total solar eclipse. It will be visible in a band across the contiguous United States. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in such a band was back in June of 1918.

This event isn't something you should miss. However, because of the nature of a solar eclipse, viewing it without the proper eyewear can be dangerous – and potentially cause permanent eye damage.

What Is A Total Solar Eclipse?

This event occurs when the moon moves between our planet and the sun. The result is a total obscuring of the sun from the perspective of those of us on Earth. The moon's apparent diameter exceeds that of the sun during a total solar eclipse. In layman's terms, this rare event will block out the sun and turn daylight into darkness.

Though many people have witnessed a partial solar eclipse in which the moon's disk covers part of the sun's disk, very few have observed a total solar eclipse. This year's solar eclipse will cross the United States from coast to coast. The path of totality stretches 70 miles wide, extending from South Carolina to Oregon.

Why You Need To Protect Your Eyes

Don't use regular sunglasses to view this event. They will not fully protect your eyes like solar viewing glasses. If you look directly at the sun without the proper protection, even when it is partially blocked by the moon, you can endure serious eye damage. It is even possible to go blind after looking at the sun.

When the solar eclipse is in its totality stage and the sun's disk is fully obscured by the moon, there is a brief period in which you can watch the eclipse with the naked eye. Totality will only last a couple minutes at most, however. Because of how dangerous the event can be, it is recommended that you wear the proper protective eyewear throughout the entire event.

How To Protect Your Eyes During The Solar Eclipse

If you plan on viewing the upcoming total solar eclipse, it is important that you get a pair of solar viewing glasses, also referred to as personal solar filters. These shades will protect your eyes as you look directly at the sun before, during and after totality.

Make sure your solar viewing glasses are in accordance with NASA's current international standard (ISO 12312-2). Older solar viewing glasses might not meet these updated standards.

You can pick up your own pair of solar viewing glasses at Broome Optical for only $1. All proceeds will benefit the Downtown Women's Center's Back to School program for homeless children.

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