On Monday, August 21st, 2017, the Moon and the Sun will be in conjunction, creating a natural phenomenon called the solar eclipse which will cover part of North America in mesmerizing twilight shadow.
What was once an ominous celestial event where mythical creatures clashed with the life-giving Sun is now a sightseeing bonanza for both astronomers and regular sky gazers.
Still, no matter if your interests stem from science or superstition, your eyes can be exposed to severe risks if left unprotected during the occasion.
NASA has issued that certain everyday materials should never be used to observe a solar eclipse as they won’t be able to prevent the UV radiation from burning the retinas in the eyes, causing permanent damage or in some cases even blindness.
The materials are:
- Any type of sunglasses
- DIY solar filters
- Smoked glass
- Color film
- Floppy disks
- Medical X-ray film
The only safe way to experience a solar eclipse is by filtering or projecting the Sun’s otherwise harmful rays.
A DIY box projector is fairly easy to make and you can also use binoculars or a telescope. Just remember not to look directly through the telescope’s eyepiece or finder scope while projecting the eclipsed Sun’s image onto your screen.
If you’re not into making a box projector, the American Astronomical Society offers eclipse glasses for purchase. Welder glasses rated 14 or higher can serve you well in maintaining good vision.
There are also special solar filters designed for eclipses, you just have to make sure they do not crack under the Sun’s magnified intensity. They must be treated with extra care, as they can easily get damaged and become unsafe for your sight.
14 US states will experience a total solar eclipse, while the rest of the continent will have a chance to see partial changes on the Sun’s face. We at Diamond Vision recommend never staring directly at the sun during the eclipse even if in the zone of totality (ie, full eclipse which lasts about 2 minutes) because any partial solar radiation that is absorbed can cause permanent damage to the retina. Therefore only approved filtered lens is such as welders glass #14 or higher or using a projected pinhole camera to watch the eclipse indirectly are advised.
Besides the heavens, the environment will also change, the temperature will slightly drop, winds will pick up and a sense of euphoria will definitely be in the air. The instant it’s over, you must put your special glasses back on. It may be an awe-inspiring moment, but eye safety should always be of the most importance.