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Solar Eclipse Viewing Safety

How to Safely View the April 8, 2024,
TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon blocks any part of the Sun. On Monday, April 8, 2024,
a solar eclipse will be visible in North and Central America, as well as parts of Europe and South America.
All 50 U.S. states (excluding most of Alaska) will have a chance to see at least a partial solar eclipse.
In a narrow track across Mexico, the U.S. from Texas to Maine, and Canada from Ontario to Newfoundland,
the Moon will completely cover the Sun’s bright face, producing a spectacular total solar eclipse.

Protect Your Eyes

  • Looking directly at the Sun without proper eye protection is unsafe EXCEPT during the brief total eclipse phase (“totality”). This happens ONLY within the narrow path of totality. At all other times, it is safe to look directly at the Sun ONLY through specialpurpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses,” that comply with the transmittance requirements of the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun.

  • If you are inside the path of totality on April 8, 2024, remove your solar filter ONLY when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright face. As soon as the Sun begins to reappear, replace your solar filter to look at the remaining partial phases.

  • Outside the path of totality, there is NO TIME when it is safe to look directly at the Sun without using a solar filter that complies with the transmittance requirements of the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

Instructions for the Safe Use of Solar Filters and Viewers

  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.

  • Always supervise children using solar filters.

  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking at the bright Sun. After looking 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. Do not do so even while wearing eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer in front of your eyes – the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.

  • Solar filters must be securely attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, or camera lens. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.

What If You Don’t Have a Safe Solar Filter or Viewer?

Another method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is indirectly via pinhole projection. For example, with your back to the Sun, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. In your hands’ shadow on the ground, the spaces between your fingers will show the Sun as crescents.

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. For more information about eye safety and the eclipse, visit https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety.

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

This document can be downloaded HERE.

There are many sites that sell eclipse glasses. However, you need to make sure your pair meet the requirements for ISO 12312-2:2015 certification.

A list of approved suppliers can be found at the American Astronomical Society.

Do NOT use eclipse glasses or handheld viewers with camera, binoclulars, or telescopes. Those require specially designed filters that fit the piece of equipment being used. 

More information on protecting your eyes during the Solar Eclipse can be found at Prevent Blindness Ohio.

How to Create a Pinhole Projector

You can view the solar eclipse via an indirect method, which does not involve looking directly at the sun.
Take a piece of cardboard (paper, index cards, or similar materials will work too) and punch a 1/4" or smaller hole through the center of the cardboard.
With the sun directly behind you, you can safely view the projected image on the ground or on another piece of paper. 

You can also use a colander as a pinhole projector.

Note: Do NOT look at the Sun through a pinhole projector!

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