SAFETY FIRST! Notes For Safe Eclipse Viewing.

July 9, 2017 clifftop CliffNotes

Clifftop NFP hopes people will take time to marvel at the Total Solar Eclipse on Monday August 21st. No matter where you view, please do so SAFELY and protect your vision. The following safe-viewing tips are provided by Clifftop NFP and Mike Krawczynski, PhD, Assistant Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University.

A pair of SAFE Solar Eclipse Viewing Glasses.

Notes for safely observing a total solar eclipse.

 Never look at the Sun outside of the total phase of an eclipse (totality) unless you have adequate eye protection.  Permanent eye damage can result from looking at the disk of the Sun directly, or through a camera viewfinder, or with binoculars or a telescope even when only a thin crescent of the Sun remains. Only with 1 percent of the Sun’s surface visible it is still about 10,000 times brighter than the full moon! Staring at the Sun under such circumstances will damage your eyesight PERMANENTLY. The retina is delicate and irreplaceable. There is little or nothing a retinal surgeon will be able to do to help you.  Once the Sun is entirely eclipsed, however, its bright surface is hidden from view and it is completely safe to look directly at the totally eclipsed Sun without any filters. In fact, it is one of the greatest sights in nature.

Should you wish to enjoy watching the partial phases of the eclipse proceed, it is recommend to use eclipse ‘glasses’ which can be purchased for little money, and provide adequate protection.  These glasses resemble common red-blue 3D cardboard glasses, but have filters in them that allow for safe viewing of the sun.  Outside of using specifically designed eclipse glasses, welders’ goggles or the filters for welder’s goggles with a rating of 14 or higher are safe to use for looking directly at the Sun. They are also relatively inexpensive.

Warning! Do not attempt to use eclipse glasses or welder’s glass behind a pair of binoculars or telescope (that is, between your eyes and the binoculars or telescope). The magnifying optics of these devices will focus the full power of the Sun onto the filter, which could crack, melt, or shatter from the intense heat after only a few minutes. If you wish to observe the eclipse with binoculars or a telescope, you must use a specially designed solar filter on the front end (or Sun-side) of the instrument.

Standard or polarized sunglasses are not solar filters. They may afford some eye relief if you are outside on a bright day, but you would never think of using them to stare at the Sun. So you cannot use sunglasses, even crossed polarized, to stare at the Sun during the partial phases of an eclipse. They provide little or no eye protection for this purpose.

Totality can and should be observed without a filter, whether with the eyes alone or with binoculars or telescopes. But the partial phases of the eclipse, right up through the Diamond Ring Effect, must be observed with filters. Only when the Diamond Ring has faded is it safe to remove the filter. And it is crucial to return to filtered viewing as totality is ending and the western edge of the Moon’s silhouette begins to brighten.

Just remember, don’t try to do too much. Look at the eclipse visually. Don’t be so busy operating a camera that you don’t see the eclipse. And don’t set off for the eclipse so burdened down by baggage and equipment that you are tired and stressed and too nervous to enjoy the event.

Clifftop is hosting a total solar eclipse viewing event at the Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve from 11 am to 3 pm on Monday August 21st. The Nature Preserve offers a natural setting for viewing this most unnatural natural phenomenon. Experience this rare event among the prairies, woodlands, and ponds along with the creatures that make their homes on the preserve.

Solar and planetary scientist Dr. Michael Krawczynski, Washington University, St. Louis, will make a presentation and also offer extraordinary close-up viewings through solar telescopes. Rev. Dr. Culver will touch on the spiritual aspects of a total solar eclipse. Fiddle player Jerry Wiley will be on hand to entertain.

Clifftop is providing safe solar eclipse viewing glasses for this event which is free and open to the public. Reservations are limited to 200 and attendees must pre-register by calling (618)-935-2542 or by email to no later than August 19th.

 CLIFFTOP, a local nonprofit organization, is focused on preserving and protecting area bluff lands. 

A version of this article appeared in the 7 July 2017 edition of the Monroe County Independent.

© 2017 all content rights reserved Clifftop NFP

Comments are currently closed.

Powered by WordPress and NatureFox.