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    • 22 JUN 17
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    How to View a Solar Eclipse

    A total solar eclipse will take place on Monday, August 21, 2017. A total solar eclipse results when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun. The Moon will be totally covering the image of the Sun when viewed by an observer on Earth.

     
    Looking directly at a solar eclipse without proper eye protection can cause damage to the retina, an important vision structure of the eye. The condition is called “Solar Retinopathy”. The damage affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for fine central vision. Sometimes the damage from Solar Retinopathy is reversible, sometimes it is permanent.

     

    Total Solar Eclipse

    Total Solar Eclipse

    Viewing an eclipse through filtered binoculars, sunglasses, neutral density filters, or other hearsay methods may not be protective against the harm eclipse viewing can cause. In 1970 a solar eclipse was viewable in United States. 145 cases of Solar Retinopathy were reported. 45% of affected people used protective viewing barriers!

    Children are especially at risk as they are curious to see the eclipse.

    Never chance viewing the eclipse directly. The safest way of seeing an eclipse is at a planetarium or university astronomy department. The high tech optical instrumentations safely display the phenomenon on screens. Another safe method is viewing a live televised demonstration of the eclipse.

    If it is necessary to observe the event live there is a way to follow the event without directly watching the eclipse. View the eclipse through a pinhole.

    Making a pinhole requires two pieces of plain white paper. Make a pinhole in the center of one piece of paper. Turn your back to the sun and hold the sheet with the pinhole next to your head. Then aim the sunbeam that shines through the pinhole sheet onto the second piece of paper. An image of the eclipse will be projected onto this second sheet and you can follow its path.

    This is a safe and fun way to view an eclipse without taking the chance of developing Solar Retinopathy.

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