Why do you need eclipse glasses? So you don't go blind. What happens if you look at the sun (2024)

The 2024 solar eclipse is finally here and we're reemphasizing the critical importance of eye protection when viewing a solar eclipse.

Staring directly at the sun during an eclipse will cause irreversible damage to the eyes, potentially leading to conditions such as solar retinopathy and permanent vision impairment.

Do not look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. Certified solar eclipse glasses that meet international safety standards provide the necessary protection against harmful solar radiation. Additionally, using indirect viewing methods such as pinhole projectors or solar filters on telescopes or cameras ensures safe observation of the eclipse.

Here is how you can safely view the total solar eclipse.

Watch live:Solar eclipse to darken skies starting at about 10 a.m. in Arizona

Why do you need eclipse glasses?

Solar eclipse glasses protect against the intense light and radiation emitted by the sun. Looking directly at the sun, even during an eclipse when it appears dimmer, can cause severe and permanent damage to the eyes.

According to NASA, certified eclipse glasses must meet stringent safety standards, with the most widely recognized certification being the International Organization for Standardization, also known as ISO 12312-2.

These glasses feature a solar filter that blocks harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation, along with intense visible light. They should allow only a specific amount of visible light to pass through, ensuring safe viewing of the sun during an eclipse.

Where can I get free eclipse glasses?Check these metro Phoenix stores and libraries

Can regular sunglasses work for eclipse?

No, regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing a solar eclipse. While they may reduce the sun's glare, they do not provide adequate protection against solar radiation and can allow harmful ultraviolet and infrared light to reach your eyes. You must wear solar eclipse glasses.

Can I use my phone to look at the eclipse?

No, it is not safe to use your phone to look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse, even if it has a protective lens. It can damage the camera sensor in your phone and may harm your eyes if you attempt to view the eclipse through the phone's screen.

If you want to capture photos or videos of the eclipse, NASA recommends using a proper solar filter on your camera lens or attaching your phone to a telescope or binoculars equipped with a solar filter. This will allow you to safely capture the event without risking damage to your equipment or your eyes.

What happens if I look at the eclipse?

Looking directly at a solar eclipse, even for just a second, can cause permanent eye damage. The intense solar radiation emitted during an eclipse can severely damage the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye responsible for vision, according to NASA. This damage can result in a condition known as solar retinopathy, which can lead to vision loss.

The human eye lacks pain receptors in the retina, so you may not immediately feel any discomfort or pain while looking at the sun during an eclipse. The damage can occur without warning.

What happens if you look at the eclipse without glasses?

You could permanently damage your eyes. The intense light and radiation from the sun during an eclipse can overwhelm the retinas. Solar retinopathy can result in vision impairment or permanent blindness. Treatment options for solar retinopathy are limited, according to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

How can I watch eclipse without glasses?

Here are some indirect methods from NASA that you can use to safely observe a solar eclipse without looking directly at the sun. You can also watch it live on TV.

  • Pinhole Projection: You can create a pinhole projector using two sheets of paper or cardboard. Make a small hole in one sheet and allow sunlight to pass through it onto the second sheet, which acts as a screen. You'll see an inverted image of the sun projected onto the screen, allowing you to observe the eclipse indirectly.
  • Projection through Binoculars or Telescope: If you have binoculars or a telescope with a solar filter, you can project the image of the sun onto a white surface or screen. Do not look through the binoculars or telescope directly at the sun; instead, aim it towards the sun and project the image onto a surface for safe viewing.
  • Eclipse Viewing Apps or Live Streams: Many reputable sources, such as NASA, will have live streams that allow you to watch the eclipse safely from your device. This allows you to experience the eclipse without risking eye damage.

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Why do you need eclipse glasses? So you don't go blind. What happens if you look at the sun (2024)
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