Is There a Safe Way to View a Total Solar Eclipse?

Solar viewing glasses

A total solar eclipse is an awe-inspiring phenomenon. People in the U.S. will be able to view one on August 21, 2017. Total solar eclipses are rare and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one. It’s important to keep in mind that all those warnings about not looking at an eclipse directly are true. Solar eclipses should be viewed through special eclipse glasses or by a casting an image of the sun. The benefits of solar eclipse glasses are that they allow the wearer to witness the event without endangering their eyesight.

What is a solar eclipse?
Very simply, a solar eclipse happens when the moon comes between the sun and the earth, blocking its light. In areas that see a total eclipse, this can produce a dramatic effect, with the bright sun slowly vanishing. The shadow of the moon can be seen moving across the sun, gradually hiding its disc. Birds fall silent and the stars come out. Then, just as gradually, the shadow begins to retreat and the sun appears again.
This is one of the most impressive spectacles in the natural world, and hobbyists, amateur and professional astronomers and kids of all ages look forward to it eagerly. On August 21, the path of the total eclipse will stretch diagonally from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. It will be about 75 miles wide. In areas within the path of totality, the full eclipse of the sun will last for about two minutes. Partial eclipse can last for two to three hours.

Why is it dangerous to look directly at a solar eclipse?
However, it is important to keep in mind that a solar eclipse cannot and should not be viewed directly with the naked and unshielded eye. The sun’s radiation can cause damage to the retina and even lead to loss of eyesight in some cases.
Normally, we are unable to look directly at the sun, because it’s just too bright. This actually saved us from a damaging our eyesight by looking directly at solar radiation. During an eclipse, however, it become possible to look directly at the sun, because its light is dimmed. This creates risks for the viewer, who may suffer retinal damage which needs surgery to correct.

What are the benefits of solar eclipse glasses?
Special eclipse viewing glasses block the harmful radiation and allow the viewer to see the eclipse unfold without any danger. Solar viewing glasses are different from sunglasses. According to NASA, wearing solar glasses is the only safe way to watch an eclipse. Sunglasses do not provide the benefits of solar eclipse glasses and should never be used to view an eclipse.
The August 21st total solar eclipse is the first that will be visible in the U.S. since 1979. On average, any location on the face of the earth will see a total solar eclipse once in 375 years. One of the most important benefits of solar eclipse glasses is that you don’t have to miss this once on a lifetime event.

Solar eclipse glasses allow you to view this spectacular celestial event. Eye protection for solar eclipse viewing is essential for anyone wanting to witness it.

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