Viewing tips

Solar Eclipse Viewing Tips: Safely Witnessing the Celestial Wonder

A solar eclipse is a mesmerizing event, but it's essential to view it safely to protect your eyes and fully appreciate the celestial wonder. Follow these guidelines to ensure a memorable and safe eclipse-watching experience:

1. NEVER Look Directly at the Sun: Staring at the sun, even during an eclipse, can cause permanent eye damage or blindness. Never use regular sunglasses, binoculars, or telescopes without proper solar filters to view the sun.

2. Approved Solar Filters: Use solar viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers that meet the international safety standard ISO 12312-2. Ensure they are not scratched, damaged, or more than three years old.

3. Pinhole Projector: Create a simple pinhole projector with two pieces of cardboard or use a small, handheld pinhole projector to indirectly view the sun's image on a surface. Instructions for building one can be easily found online.

4. Solar Filters for Telescopes and Binoculars: If you're using binoculars or telescopes, use solar filters designed for them. Regular filters or eyepieces do NOT provide adequate protection.

5. Welder's Glass: Only use a welder's glass with a minimum rating of 14 to view the sun directly. Other types of welder's glass may not provide sufficient protection.

6. Eclipse Glasses Sharing: Avoid sharing your solar viewing glasses. Each person should have their own properly certified pair.

7. Solar Viewing Cards: These special cards allow you to view the sun indirectly by projecting its image onto a card's surface.

8. Solar Filters for Cameras: If you plan to photograph the eclipse, use solar filters made specifically for cameras. Do NOT look through the camera's viewfinder at the sun.

9. Look for Shadows: During the partial phases of the eclipse, look for fascinating shadow patterns on the ground caused by the sun's crescent shape.

10. Monitor Children: Keep a close watch on children to ensure they follow proper safety precautions when viewing the eclipse.

11. Beware of Fake Solar Viewing Glasses: Purchase solar viewers from reputable vendors to avoid counterfeit or unsafe products.

12. Seek Expert Events: Consider attending organized public eclipse viewing events hosted by astronomy clubs, science centers, or other reputable organizations. These events provide safe viewing opportunities and valuable educational experiences.

13. Stay Informed: Check local weather and eclipse times beforehand to plan your viewing location and ensure clear skies.

14. Practice Beforehand: If you plan to use binoculars or telescopes, practice setting them up and using solar filters before the eclipse day.

15. Enjoy the Moment: Take some time to put down your camera or smartphone during the total eclipse phase to fully experience this extraordinary celestial spectacle with your own eyes.

Remember, safety is paramount during a solar eclipse. By following these tips, you can witness this incredible cosmic event while protecting your vision. Enjoy the enchanting dance of the sun and moon as they create a moment of awe and wonder in the sky. Happy eclipse viewing!

© 2023 The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Windsor Centre