10 Solar Eclipse Safety Tips

solar eclipse safety

Image: Jongsun Lee

An annular solar eclipse is a rare celestial event that occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, but the Moon is too far from Earth to completely cover the Sun. As a result, a bright ring of sunlight called an annulus or Ring of Fire is visible around the Moon’s silhouette.

The next annular solar eclipse will occur on October 14, 2023. This exciting event will be visible across North, Central, and South America. The Ring of Fire will cross the western states of Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

The rest of the U.S. will see a partial eclipse. Here’s a map showing the path of the October 14 eclipse: https://eclipse2024.org/2023eclipse/eclipse_cities/statemap.html

The closer to the blue line, the better. Note that all of these places will see a long partial solar eclipse before and after the brief Ring of Fire; their closeness to the centerline of the path of annularity determines the duration of the Ring of Fire.

If you’re planning to observe the eclipse, it’s important to take precautions to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays that can BLIND YOU. Use solar eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers to enjoy this rare celestial event safely. Make sure they are sold by reputable manufacturers, such as Rainbow Symphony.

Solar Eclipse Safety Tips

1. Use eye protection

Looking directly at the sun during an eclipse will cause permanent eye damage or blindness. Use solar eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers to view the eclipse safely. Ensure that the glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international standard for eyes-only direct viewing of the sun. Don’t use if they are old, scratched, or damaged in any way. Never look through regular sunglasses, colored soda bottles, cellophane wrappers, film, or anything that is not rated for solar viewing. If you use prescription glasses, wear your eclipse glasses over your prescription eyewear.

2. Observe away from busy roads

Avoid observing the eclipse from busy roads. Instead, find a safe and comfortable location to observe the eclipse.

3. Watch the weather

Check the weather forecast for your location before heading out to observe the eclipse. If it’s cloudy or rainy, you may not be able to see the eclipse clearly.

4. Plan ahead

Plan ahead for traffic, parking, and lodging if you’re traveling to a different location to observe the eclipse. You want to have time to set up and not be rushing there at the last minute.

5. Be prepared for backcountry travel

If you’re planning on observing the eclipse in a remote location, make sure you’re prepared for backcountry travel. Bring enough food, water, and supplies for your trip.

6. Avoid closed parks and monuments

Some parks and monuments may be closed during the eclipse due to safety concerns or high visitor traffic. Check with local authorities before heading out to observe the eclipse.

7. Respect native cultures

The Ring of Fire eclipse path will pass through Navajo National Monument, where, for hundreds of years, Hopi, Navajo, and other Native Americans lived in the canyons. However, visitors to the Hopi Reservation and Navajo Nation should be aware that these cultures view eclipses as sacred times to pray or meditate indoors. All Navajo Tribal Parks will be closed from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. MDT on October 14, 2023, to respect Navajo cultural beliefs. This includes Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Four Corners Monument Navajo Tribal Park, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Local businesses may also be closed. Please plan your eclipse viewing trip accordingly.

8. Make a pinhole camera

Don’t have any eclipse glasses, or not sure that you want to trust them? You can view an eclipse without looking directly at it by making a pinhole camera to see a projected image. Follow these simple instructions from NASA.

9. Supervise children

Children should be supervised by an adult at all times during the eclipse. Don’t just tell them to stay in their room with the curtains closed. Everyone knows kids don’t always do what they’re told. We heard a story about one little girl who peeked and she went blind. You don’t want that to happen!

10. Use solar filters for optics

A solar filter must be attached to the front of your telescope, binoculars, or camera lens. The American Astronomical Society has a list of approved suppliers of safe solar filters. Be sure to read the AAS eclipse safety tips before using solar filters with optics. The same goes for smartphones! Watching a solar eclipse on your smartphone camera can put you at risk of accidentally looking at the sun when trying to line up your camera, so wear your eclipse glasses. The UV rays could also damage your smartphone camera, so put eclipse glasses over the front of your smartphone’s camera lens and hold them or tape them in place. NEVER look at a solar eclipse through the viewfinder (it will burn your eyes)—use the LCD screen.

Be sure to follow these eclipse safety tips to view this rare celestial event safely. REMEMBER, looking directly at the sun during an eclipse can cause permanent eye damage or blindness. Always use proper eye protection (last I saw, Home Depot was selling eclipse glasses or buy on Amazon).

The annular eclipse is on October 14 and a total solar eclipse will be April 8, 2024!

For more information, see ClassicalAstronomy.com and EclipseOverCleveland.com

1 Comment

Add a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.