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Protect Your Eyes Watching the Sun

Next Annular Solar Eclipse: Thu, Sep 1, 2016 … See animation

Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection. You can seriously hurt your eyes and even go blind.

Illustration image

Wear eclipse glasses for a solar eclipse.

Make sure your eclipse glasses are safe, or the Sun’s UV radiation can seriously injure the retinas in the eyes.


Safely Watch an Eclipse

The only way to view the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun safely is to either project or filter the Sun's rays.

The Sun’s UV radiation can burn the retinas in the eyes leading to permanent damage or even blindness. This can occur even if your eyes are exposed to direct sunlight for just a few seconds.

Projector or Filters?

DIY: Pinhole Projectors for Eclipses

Projection works well with or without a telescope or binoculars. However, don't look through the telescope’s eyepiece or side-mounted finder scope while projecting the Sun's image to a screen.

DIY pinhole projector
DIY: Simple pinhole projector.
DIY: Simple pinhole projector from two sheets of paper is easy to make.

Eclipse Glasses:

If you are not the D.I.Y. type, check in with your local natural history or space museum or your local astronomy club for where to rent or buy eclipse glasses.

Welder's Goggles:

NASA recommends welder's glasses rated 14 or higher. These can be found at your local welding supply store. Keep in mind that welder glass grading may be different in different countries.

Aluminized Mylar Sheeting:

Mylar can be easily cut with scissors but make sure that the sheets you use are aluminized and that you take the advice of experts while using it.

You can use special solar filters to watch the Sun during a solar eclipse, but use the proper type of solar filter that is designed for eclipses. Check that filters do not crack under the Sun’s magnified and focused intensity. Solar filters must be treated with care or they can quickly become damaged and unsafe to use.

How Not to Watch Solar Eclipses

According to NASA, the following materials should never be used to view a solar eclipse:

  • Don't use color film.
  • Don't use medical X-ray film with images on them.
  • Don't use smoked glass.
  • Don't use any kind of sunglasses.
  • Don't use CDs or computer floppy disks.

The bottom line is, do not take any chances. If you are unsure about the safety of a viewing device, talk to an expert first before using it.

Topics: Astronomy, Eclipses, Sun, Moon, Earth

Next Annular Solar Eclipse begins in


Annular Solar Eclipse

Sep 1, 2016 at 6:13 AM UTCSee more


Eclipse Lookup

Solar Eclipses

  1. Different Types of Eclipses
  2. What are Solar Eclipses?
  3. Total Solar Eclipses
  4. Partial Solar Eclipses
  5. Annular Solar Eclipses
  6. Solar Eclipses in History
  7. Solar Eclipse Myths and Superstitions
  8. Magnitude of Eclipses


Planet Transits

  1. Transit of Mercury
  2. Transit of Venus

Astronomy Index

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