Solar Eclipse Viewing Safety

On August 21, 2017, the entire United States will be able to see at least a partial solar eclipse. Only individuals in what is called the “path of totality” will be able to see the full solar eclipse. The path is approximately 70 miles and extends from Oregon to South Carolina. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not included in this path.

No matter how much of the solar eclipse you will be able to view, you should know how to properly view it to protect your vision.  Staring into the sun for even a moment can have lasting negative effects on your vision.  According to NASA, to safely view the eclipse, one should wear “solar-viewing glasses”, “eclipse glasses”, or “personal solar filters.”  The lenses on these glasses are made from special solar filters that are hundreds of thousands of times darker than normal sunglasses. Be sure your glasses are up to date and meet the current standard of ISO 12312-2.

To better ensure your family’s safety while viewing the solar eclipse, here are a few safety tips to follow from space.com.

  • 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 eclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device.

If you do not plan on participating in the solar eclipse viewing, keep children inside during the hours the eclipse will be happening in your area or make sure they understand the importance of never looking into the sun.

Source: space.com, “How to View a Solar Eclipse Without Damaging Your Eyes”