How to safely view the August solar eclipse

Posted at 12:22 PM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 12:22:47-04

NASA has provided safety tips to those who want to watch the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, the first one to cross the entire country in 99 years.

A Total Solar Eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun from view as casting a shadow on the Earth.

Those who wish to look directly at the sun should use special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, according to NASA.

NASA recommends checking the authenticity of viewing glasses to make sure they meet the following criteria:

  • Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
  • Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
  • Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
  • Not use homemade filters
  • Ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers

“While NASA isn’t trying to be the eclipse safety glasses ‘police,’ it’s our duty to inform the public about safe ways to view what should be a spectacular sky show for the entire continental United States,” said Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s important that individuals take the responsibility to check they have the proper solar eclipse viewing glasses. With the eclipse a month away today, it’s prudent to practice ahead of time.”

Another way to safely look at the eclipse is a pinhole projector, which lets sunlight streams through a small onto a makeshift screen. According to NASA, it’s important to ONLY watch the screen, not the sun, because t is not safe to look at the sun though the pinhole.

Click here for additional safety information.


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