How To Observe Eclipses Safely

There is something about eclipses that make them such sights to behold by astronomers, scientists, and even by ordinary people. It could be because they do not happen a lot. For example, the next solar eclipse may happen years after. Lunar eclipses, on the other hand, tend to occur more frequently than solar eclipse. However, there is still a gap of at least six months before you can catch another of such event again.

Eclipses are also majestic to watch that people would always find a way to catch a glimpse of it. There is nothing wrong with that. However, you still need to be very careful, as looking straight toward an eclipse may cause health risks.

The Problem with Eclipses

When you are too overwhelmed with excitement or curiosity, there is a good chance that you would directly look up and watch an eclipse. What you do not know is that looking straight into the sun without the right eye gear can cause damage to your retina. You may experience retinal burn, and it may impair your vision. It is not uncommon to hear of people who experience reduction in vision after watching an eclipse. Rather than having 20/20 vision, you may only have 20/30, which means only one of your eyes are able to see clearly. Worse, retinal burn may cause damage to both your eyes.

Interestingly, you will never know that you are already having retinal burns not until many hours after the eclipse. By then, it could be very difficult for even an expert to revert the effects. The scar could be present all throughout your life.

How to Watch an Eclipse Safely

The health effects of eclipse can still be contradicted, provided that you watch the phenomenon with utmost safety. Here are some ways on how you can do that:

1. Create a pinhole viewer. This is one of the most effective means of watching an eclipse. What's more, it is very easy to do. What you need is just a pair of stiff cards or a cardboard box. You are going to create a small hole on one side of the cardboard box or on one of the pairs of the cards. With your back turned on the eclipse, you would then let sunlight go through the hole and project an inverted image of the eclipse on to the other side or card. Do not make the mistake of looking at the eclipse directly with your pinhole viewer.

2. Watch it through a telescope. You can also go to observatories, where there are telescopes that allow you to view eclipses at a lot clearly. This is because they seem to be happening at a much closer range. Moreover, telescopes have strong filters that could prevent the harmful rays of the sun from getting into your eyes.

3. Avoid using devices with solar filters. Sun glasses, fiber glasses, slide films, and smoked glass, to name a few, are not advisable to be used for solar viewing. Rather, utilize metal-coated glasses or those that are made of aluminized polyester.

Seek and Learn

Other science articles

Copyright 2009 Mirroreyes Internet Services Corporation.