Astronomy

Is it safe to view a solar eclipse with eyeglasses along with eclipse glasses?

Is it safe to view a solar eclipse with eyeglasses along with eclipse glasses?


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In an article on Ars Technica about safely viewing a solar eclipse, they say this:

First, what not to do: Don't view the eclipse with your naked eye or unfiltered telescopes, binoculars, sunglasses (yeah, even if they're really dark), camera lenses, or other optics devices. Don't use anything that focuses light, even if you're wearing eclipse glasses.

This may sound like a stupid question, but are eyeglasses (by which I mean, lenses to correct poor vision) safe to wear during an eclipse along with eclipse glasses? I don't know if the light focusing is strong enough to be concerned about.


Yes, it's safe :). Your eyeglasses are just correcting your vision. The net effect is just to give the equivalent of normal vision - and in any case, you'd normally be holding the eclipse glasses in front of your eyeglasses, in the same way that front-of-scope solar filters work to reduce the incoming light to a safe level.

Even if you're longsighted (which uses converging (positive) lenses to correct your vision, the glasses are close enough to your eye that you're nowhere near the focal point - so the light doesn't get concentrated much (and probably gets unconcentrated again by your eye, anyway).

If you're shortsighted, like me, your glasses will be diverging (negative) lenses which spread the light out rather than concentrating it (and again, are close enough to your eye that's there's not enough distance for it to affect things much.


Yes, it is fine to wear eclipse glasses over your eyeglasses. What the article in Ars Technica is talking about is looking through a telescope with eclipse glasses. The telescope would focus the light, burning right through the eclipse glasses. But wearing normal eyeglasses behind eclipse glasses is perfectly fine.


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Tips for solar eclipse viewing with children

View a partial eclipse through special-purpose eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe. Photo by Jay M. Pasachoff.

On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to a view of the eclipse of the sun. The path of totality, where the moon completely covers the sun, stretches from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. For those outside the path, you will still be able to see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun. Michigan falls into a 70-80 percent partial eclipse range, according to NASA&rsquos &ldquoEclipse: Who? What? Where? When? And How?&rdquo

An eclipse is an amazing experience to view, but it can be confusing for children and there are safety risks. Michigan State University Extension offers the following information for viewing and explaining an eclipse to your child.

What is an eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and causes a shadow to fall on part of Earth. The eclipse isn&rsquot able to be seen from everywhere on Earth, but only where the shadow of the moon falls. The last time there was a total eclipse in the United States was in 1979, or 38 years ago.

A total eclipse is where the sun is completely covered by the Moon. On Aug. 21, a path about 70 miles wide, stretching from the northwestern coast in Oregon, across Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North and South Carolina, will experience totality. The eclipse begins in North America at 9:05 a.m. Pacific Time in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, and ends at 2:48 p.m. Eastern Time near Charleston, North Carolina.

During the Aug. 21 eclipse, all of the United States outside of the totality area will be able to see a partial solar eclipse, where only a portion of the sun is blocked by the moon.

You can find out how much of the eclipse and when to look to the skies by visiting NASA&rsquos Total Solar Eclipse Interactive Map. For instance, in Detroit, Michigan, there will be 80 percent obscuration (or percentage of the sun blocked). The start of the eclipse will be at 1:03 p.m., maximum at 2:27 p.m. and will end at 3:47 p.m.

How to safely view the eclipse

You cannot look directly at the sun during an eclipse without special glasses or view it through a smart phone or other camera without a filter. It can be tempting to go ahead and look as the sky becomes dark, but there is real risk to permanent damage to your and your children&rsquos eyes.

The only safe way to look at a partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses. Young children may do better with handheld viewers, as the glasses are often too large for their heads. Ordinary sunglasses are not sufficient to filter the damaging light.

Check with local libraries, science museums, astronomy clubs and even ophthalmologists to find these special glasses. There was a recent recall on several popular brands, so double check if your glasses are compliant. If your child will not leave glasses on or if they do not fit well, it may be a safer choice to view the event inside on the television.

Another method is to use pinhole projection. In order to do this, you pass sunlight through a small opening, for example a hole punched in paper, to project the image of the sun onto the ground or another surface. You can even do this by just crossing your fingers, slightly open, over your other hand, and holding your arms outstretched with your back to the sun. The little spaces between your fingers will create a grid of small images on the ground, each containing a little crescent of the sun. Pinhole projection does not mean to look directly at the sun through a small pinhole.

NASA offers additional tips on how to safely observe the sun during the eclipse, as well as links to approved glasses, filters and other resources for safe viewing at How to View a Solar Eclipse Safely.

Additional eclipse information

The earliest information we have that people were paying attention to eclipses in an official capacity are about 5,000 years old. Many people used to believe eclipses were a sign that change was coming. The Ancient Chinese believed solar eclipses occurred when the celestial dragon devoured the sun. The Ancient Greek explained that the Sues, father of the Olympians, could make night from mid-day by hiding the sun. Learn more about eclipse history at NASA's Eclipse History.

Eclipses have provided an important time for scientific discoveries. The moon covering the sun has allowed scientists an opportunity to study the corona and chromosphere. NASA's Solar Eclipses of Historical Interest for a complete list of important solar eclipses in history.

Many misconceptions have surrounded eclipses over time. Some debunked myths include pregnant women should not watch the eclipse because it can harm the baby, the food prepared during eclipses is poisonous, and eclipses are a sign something bad is about to happen. While eclipses are a fun and unique event, there is no danger to anyone during an eclipse. It is simply a naturally occurring phenomenon. For more misconceptions and their explanations, see NASA's Eclipse Misconceptions.

NASA offers a wealth of additional eclipse education material including an Eclipse Activity Guide an Eclipse Education website devoted to eclipse educational material including activities for parents, K-12 teachers, homeschool educators and informal education settings and a blog devoted to the eclipse. NASA recommends the book &ldquoWhen the Sky Goes Dark&rdquo by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz to teach children about the eclipse.

NASA will offer an eclipse live stream on Monday, Aug. 21, with coverage from noon to 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Their coverage will be broadcast from 12 locations, airplanes, ground telescopes and 57 high altitude balloons. You can watch in a variety of ways. Visit NASA&rsquos Eclipse Live website for more information.

The upcoming solar eclipse is a special opportunity to teach your children about astronomy, science and our solar system. Explain to them what will happen so they are prepared and not scared. Look up answers online and learn more about this special event. Take time on Monday, Aug. 21, to step outside, and with your safe solar eclipse glasses, view the solar eclipse.

Visit MSU Extension&rsquos Early Childhood Development webpage for resources and information for families and children and to find upcoming events in your area.


Ways to view a solar eclipse safely

Pinhole projection

If you&aposre unable to purchase ISO-certified eclipse glasses prior to a solar eclipse, using a technique called "pinhole projection" is another way you can view it safely.

How do you create a pinhole projection system for safe viewing of a solar eclipse? According to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, you&aposll need a box that&aposs at least 6 feet long, aluminum foil, duct tape, a pin and a sheet of white paper.

The whole process involves a lot of work (cutting a 1-inch hole in the center of the box, taping a piece of foil over the hole and poking a small hole in the foil with a pin, for starters).

Though this solar-eclipse viewing method is less dramatic than watching directly through eclipse glasses, pinhole projection will protect your eyes from damage.

Use your hands to view the sun

To perform this technique, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a grid or waffle pattern.

With your back to the sun, look at the shadow your outstretched hands create on the ground in front of you. The spaces between your fingers in the waffle pattern will project a grid of small images on the ground that will show the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.

View the eclipse through a tree&aposs leaves

Another option is to look down at the shadow created by a leafy tree during the partial eclipse. You&aposll see the ground dappled with crescent suns projected by the spaces between the leaves on the tree, the AAS says.


Keep Your Vision Safe During the Solar Eclipse!

On Monday, August 21, a solar eclipse is occurring that can be seen from most of Canada. This is a rare event that everyone should take part in—just ensure that you’re viewing the eclipse safely and not putting your vision or eyes in jeopardy.

What is a Solar Eclipse?
When the moon passes between the earth and the sun, all the light from the sun is blocked and, essentially, day becomes night for everyone in the umbral shadow of the moon. Your location will determine the totality of the eclipse. For example, those living in Toronto can expect about 70% of the light to be blocked, while those in Vancouver will have about 85% of the sun covered.

How Does a Solar Eclipse Damage Vision?
If the moon blocks the light from the sun, many people wonder why staring at a solar eclipse can damage (or blind) your vision. The main concern when it comes to a solar eclipse is solar retinopathy. This can severely damage your eyes and is caused when bright light from the sun floods the retina. While this can occur whenever the sun is out, the sun is partially covered during a solar eclipse and people mistakenly believe they can stare directly at it—but it’s still causing damage.

The only time to safely view the Solar Eclipse without a filter is during totality—where the moon is completely covering the sun. However, the path of totality is south of Canada, meaning you’ll need solar filters to safely view the eclipse anywhere here.

How Can You Safely View the Eclipse?
This solar eclipse is thought to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Many people will want to take advantage of the fact that they can see it from Canada, but make sure you’re viewing it in a safe manner.

Use solar glasses or filters to view the eclipse safely. Make sure you’re buying IOS (International Organization for Standardization) rated or CE Certified eclipse glasses. Be wary of fake solar eclipse glasses and buy them from a reputable retailer like a museum, science centre or astronomy group.

Take advantage of the rare opportunity to view the solar eclipse and be safe!

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‘Ring Of Fire’ Solar Eclipse On Sunday: How To Watch Safely

An annular solar eclipse is often called a "ring of fire", such as this one observed in China in . [+] 2012.

Visual China Group via Getty Images

A “ring of fire” is about to engulf certain regions of Africa, Asia and the Pacific Ocean north of Australia. This special solar eclipse on Sunday will require some special care to watch — but it is so worth it.

An eclipse of the sun happens when the moon passes across the sun’s surface, from Earth’s perspective. The moon will be at the farthest part of its orbit (or circle) around Earth. This means the moon won’t be quite big enough to fit over the whole sun — creating a “ring of fire” effect as the sun shines all the way around the rocky world.

A solar eclipse is a spectacular show and people love travelling from all over the world to view these events, because they take place in only narrow regions of Earth. (Recall all the excitement when the United States had a total solar eclipse in 2017.) Travel might be restricted this time due to the pandemic. That said, if you’re lucky enough to be under the eclipse path when the event happens, though, make sure to take all the safety precautions to protect your eyes and equipment.

The first and most vital thing that you will need is a piece of “eclipse glasses.” No, conventional sunglasses won’t cut it. You need to have stronger stuff to avoid the danger of the sun hurting your eyes. The American Astronomical Society maintains a list of reputable manufacturers for these eclipse glasses. Do make sure to inspect the filter for any scratches or damage if you see any damage, do discard the glasses and try another pair instead.

Indonesian skywatchers safely watch an annular eclipse on Dec. 26, 2019, using special eclipse . [+] glasses.

Barcroft Media via Getty Images

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Another affordable method, and still very safe, is to do something called pinhole projection, according to AAS. “Just cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. Then, with your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground,” AAS says.

“The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground. During the partial phases of the solar eclipse, these images will reveal the Sun's crescent shape . Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse you'll see the ground dappled with crescent Suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves.”

If you happen to own a pair of binoculars or a telescope, or a camera, the safest method is to consult with your manufacturer for a proper filter that will protect the delicate optics from burning out. One key thing to remember is not to keep your equipment trained on the sun for a long time make sure to take breaks so that nothing inside overheats. If you have some know-how, you can also create a projected image so a group of people can see the eclipse.

If you can't make this eclipse, you can always catch the action online with Slooh or other astronomy broadcasts of the eclipse. Also, there are two solar eclipse chances coming up for Americans in the near future. An annular solar eclipse will happen on Oct. 14, 2023 and a total one will happen (again) on April 8, 2024.


2017 solar eclipse FAQs: When is it happening? Do I need special glasses? Will my dog be safe?

On Aug. 21, the moon is going to mask the sun for a total solar eclipse that will cross the United States from the Oregon to the South Carolina coasts. It's a rare astronomical phenomenon that we haven't seen in the Pacific Northwest since 1979.

As the excitement builds, so do questions about how to safely view the eclipse, the logistics of traffic and crowd management, and what exactly people will see.

Here are answers to some of the most-frequently asked questions about the 2017 total solar eclipse.

That varies depending on where you are, but in Oregon, a few things will remain constant. The show will start shortly after 9 a.m. on Aug. 21 before the moon blots out the sun completely sometime between 10:15 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. depending on where you are in the state. We've ranked how long the eclipse will last in 94 different Oregon cities and towns.

In all, it will take about 90 minutes for the total eclipse to make its way completely across the country.

How fast will the moon's shadow move?

Wow. Talk about fast! According to the experts at eclipse2017.org, when the totality hits the Oregon coast, the shadow will be moving at a staggering 2,955 miles per hour. Because of the curvature of the Earth and the sun's position in the sky, the shadow will move at different speeds as it crosses the country. When the eclipse makes it to the South Carolina Coast, it will have slowed to 1,502 miles per hour. That's still plenty fast, but roughly half the speed that the shadow will move when it hits the Oregon coast.

Do I really need special glasses to protect my eyes?

Yes, the sun’s rays are dangerous, and you can cause serious, permanent damage to your eyes if you look at the eclipse without special solar eclipse glasses. That damage, which is caused by ultraviolet rays flooding your retinas, can range from blurred vision and seeing spots to complete blindness. So take this seriously!

There is concern about counterfeit eclipse glasses being sold, and Amazon.com has issued recalls for some glasses that it can't verify came from a reputable manufacturer. You'll want to look for glasses that are labeled "ISO," including the ISO reference 12312-2, which means the glasses conform to the requirements for direct observation of the sun. You also want to look for the name of one of the reputable glasses manufacturers approved by the American Astronomical Society.

And they aren't hard to find: There are many online sources (though you'll want to place orders soon and pay extra for rush delivery to guarantee that they arrive on-time). Many grocery and convenience stores are selling them at the checkout line for about $2. It's a small price to pay to keep your eyes safe.


When not to wear solar eclipse glasses

However, it is really important for anyone standing within the path of totality – and only those people – to remove solar eclipse glasses during one brief period that only they will experience: totality. Not doing so would mean missing perhaps the most spectacular sight that nature can offer (yes, eclipse people do go on and on about totality, but it is indescribably cool).

So how will you know when it&aposs safe to look at the sun and moon? “It is safe to look during the two minutes of totality, and it will be unmistakable when those two minutes have arrived because the sky will suddenly turn very dark,” says Michael Zeiler at GreatAmericanEclipse.com. “If you&aposre watching with eclipse glasses you will see the crescent of the Sun very rapidly shrink and break up into a series of what are called Baily&aposs beads – and as they shrink to nothing people should take off their solar eclipse glasses and see totality with their naked eye. It will be the most amazing sight of their entire life.”

There will another, clue, too. “Totality is impossible to miss – the people around you will be cheering and gasping, and if you&aposre in a group of people, there will be a cheer that rises, so you will know when the moment has arrived.”

As soon as the Sun begins to reappear, put your solar eclipse glasses back on to view the rest of the partial eclipse.


It is never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays – even if the sun is partly obscured. When watching a partial eclipse you must wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun, or use an alternate indirect method. This also applies during a total eclipse up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked.

During the short time when the moon completely obscures the sun – known as the period of totality – it is safe to look directly at the star, but it’s crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses.

First and foremost: Check for local information on timing of when the total eclipse will begin and end. NASA’s page of eclipse times is a good place to start.

Second: The sun also provides important clues for when totality is about to start and end.


Astronomy is fun for the entire family

In addition to the eclipse glasses, Celestron has great astronomy gear you can use this summer to view the night sky. I think this is a great hobby for the entire family because all you have to do is head outside and grab a chair.

The eclipse glasses will let you look directly at the biggest star in our sky: the sun. But when it’s dark outside and the sky lights up with stars, a Celestron telescope is an amazing tool for night sky viewing.

We’re lucky here because we live on acreage and we have no street lights anywhere around. We can view stars and meteor showers with the naked eye, but we also like to pull out our telescope and get a closer look.

One of my best tips to get kids interested in astronomy is to use your Celestron telescope with a star app on your iPad. You can hold your iPad up to the night sky and it will identify constellations, so you can share that to engage them even more.

Once you get into astronomy it’s hard to stop, and we’ve traveled to places like the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles to take in their star nights. With a telescope we were able to faintly see the rings of Saturn, and there are a lot of different telescope accessories you can use to customize your own telescope to create an experience like that at home.

The upcoming total solar eclipse is something that’s not to be missed, so pick up a pair of Celestron Eclipsmart Solar Safe glasses or Power Viewers and view it with the entire family. You can find even more great tools to explore astronomy with Celestron, and they are available on Best Buy right now.

Just need one? Reserve it online then pick it up in your local Best Buy store (while quantities last).

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4 COMMENTS

Im so happy i did not spend one penny on Toronto eclipse hype .
If I did not know I would of never known we were going through an eclipse.I took pictures from 1:15 to 3:00 very subtle differences. I was Sun Gazing .Its been a ritual for 15 years / meditating . The practice of sungazing closely resembles its name. At sunrise and/or sunset, when the sun is closest to the earth, sungazers stand barefoot on the earth and look directly at the sun for 10 seconds. Every day, 10 seconds are added and some sungazers eventually reach a duration of 44 minutes [1].

The theory is that the sun is the force of all life, and staring at it can infuse the body with large amounts of energy. So much so that one of the sungazers featured in the film, Hira Ratan Manek, claims to have gone eight years without eating. He has been “eating” a steady diet of solar rays, and claims that this is all he needs for nourishment.

Our ancestors understood the relation between the sun and health. From the Aztecs to the ancient Egyptians, many past societies revered sungazing as an esoteric practice for high-ranking priests and shamans. Today, it is experiencing a resurgence in popularity and sungazers claim it has its benefits.

Boosts production of melatonin and serotonin. Research shows sungazing stimulates the pineal gland as the direct sunlight hits the eye, moves through retinal-hypothalamic tract, and then hits the brain. This stimulates the pineal gland, also known as the “master gland”. This boosts the secretion of melatonin and serotonin, our “feel-good” hormones.
Increased energy levels. Modern day sungazers say the practice has boosted their vitality. This is probably related to the secretion of the aforementioned hormones.
Increases the actual size of the pineal gland. Not only can this practice boost hormone levels, it has also been shown to increase the size of the pineal gland. Normally, as we age, the pineal gland shrinks. However, brain scans of a long-term practitioner of sungazing show that this 70 year-old man has a gland three times as big as a normal man.
Promotes weight loss. One of the historical theories for sun gazing was that the body and mind could be nourished by the sun, reducing the need for food. Similarly, some modern day sungazers say they have lost excess weight, and some even report a total loss of the desire and need to eat.
Sungazing is an interesting practice that touches the spiritual and psychological realms, which are very personal things. Everyone is wired a little differently and this practice isn’t for everyone, nor is it something I recommend. If you choose to partake, do your own research, be careful, be cautious, and document your experience.

Please let me know your comments and thoughts below!

References:
Sungazing.com. How to sungaze. 2011.

Are the glasses in the 4 pack of Celestron Eclipsmart Glasses, both ISO AND CE approved?
Please respond to my email address!
Thanks

I just received a reply from Celestron: yes they are CE and ISO approved is the short answer for the 4 pack of glasses. they also provided a more detailed answer and have additional information on their website. Here is the detailed response:

EclipSmart solar products feature Solar Safe filter technology providing the ultimate protection from harmful solar radiation, including both IR and UV light, and filters 99.999% of intense visible light. Celestron Solar Safe filter technology is GUARANTEED SAFE for direct solar observation and has been independently tested by SAI Global Assurance Services.

Solar Safe products conform to and meet the transmission requirements of ISO 12312-2, Filters for Direct Observation of the Sun, EN 1836:2005 + A1:2007 (E) for an E15 Filter for the Direct Observation of the Sun and, AS/NZS 1338.1:2012, Filters for Eye Protectors.


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