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Why can you not look at a solar eclipse

By Anne Buckle and Aparna Kher. Never look directly at the Sun. You can seriously hurt your eyes, and even go blind. Proper eye protection, like eclipse glasses or a Sun filter, is the only safe option. Sunglasses don't work.

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Dumb Kid Looks at Eclipse Without Glasses

Solar eclipse and health

You've probably heard that staring at the sun is bad for your eyes. Well, you've heard right, because people who stare at the sun can go blind. When you were a kid, you may have performed the trick where you lit paper on fire using the sun and a magnifying glass. The light of the sun is so strong that if you concentrate it with a lens, you can actually start a fire.

If you stare at the sun, this lens concentrates a spot of sunlight on your retina, and it burns it too. The light is so intense that it kills cells on your retina. So much hype surrounds staring at a solar eclipse because, on a day-to-day basis, most folks know better than to stare up at the sun. The problem with a solar eclipse is that it's an extremely rare event. In fact, everybody in the United States has to wait until Aug.

Because these eclipses hardly ever happen, everyone wants to see them when they do occur. People may be curious or lack good impulse control, and think that a few seconds of looking at the eclipse won't do any harm.

They may believe they're right at first, because no initial pain is associated with a retinal burn. Generally, it takes several hours for the symptoms to manifest and by then, the damage has already been done. If you want to look directly at a solar eclipse, you're going to need some protective eyewear. You can view a total solar eclipse with your bare eyes, but only when the moon completely covers the face of the sun.

And if you're really gung ho about looking up at the sun without special spectacles, you could watch the event's progression through a pinhole camera. Otherwise, NASA recommends putting on a pair of eclipse glasses that meets the current international standard for eye protection, because the ultradark lenses shield your peepers from the sun's harmful rays. And when gazing at the eclipse with binoculars or another magnification device, make sure the device is equipped with its own solar filter — eclipse glasses alone won't prevent eye damage from magnified sunlight [source: Cofield ].

What if Humans Could Breathe Underwater? If you follow these tips, you can take joy in knowing that you're about to witness an awe-inspiring celestial show safely. What if you only ate one type of food for the rest of your life? What if I looked straight at an eclipse of the sun? A solar eclipse as seen in Hawaii, What If?

Cofield, Calla.

Solar Eclipse: Safe Viewing Techniques

A truly awe-inspiring event, a solar eclipse is when the moon blocks any part of the sun from our view. The bright face of the sun is covered gradually by the moon during a partial eclipse, lasting a few hours. During the brief period of a total eclipse when the moon fully covers the sun only a couple of minutes , the light of day gives way to a deep twilight sky. Bright stars and planets become more visible in the sky.

You've probably heard that staring at the sun is bad for your eyes. Well, you've heard right, because people who stare at the sun can go blind. When you were a kid, you may have performed the trick where you lit paper on fire using the sun and a magnifying glass.

Remember to use safe solar eclipse glasses and other equipment during the partial phases, and soak up the darkness during totality! In fact, you've probably been told that by lots of reputable sources including our own Space. A total solar eclipse happens when the central disk of the sun is completely covered by the moon. But total solar eclipses are a much rarer sight.

Why is it dangerous to look at the solar eclipse directly specially at that moment?

The first thing to remember about observing an eclipse is safety. A solar eclipse is potentially dangerous, however, because viewing a solar eclipse involves looking at the Sun, which can damage your eyesight. A solar eclipse can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse , when the Sun itself is completely obscured by the Moon. Partial eclipses , annular eclipses , and the partial phases of total solar eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness. Looking at the Sun through any kind of optical aid binoculars, a telescope, or even a camera's viewfinder is extremely dangerous, and can cause permanent blindness. There is no pain or discomfort when the retina is being burned, and the resulting visual symptoms do not occur until at least several hours after the injury has occurred; by which time it is far too late. Professional astronomer and science communicator Phil Plait makes this case well Special report: Let your kids see the eclipse! An article by professional astronomer and science communicator Phil Plait, making the case that children can and should be allowed to safely view a solar eclipse. However, safety must come first; so if you are not confident that you, or people you are responsible for, can correctly follow the safety precautions outlined here, then it would be best to stay indoors and watch the event on TV or the internet.

What Happens to Your Eyes If You Look Directly at the Sun During a Solar Eclipse?

Like a camera lens, your pupils dilate, or open, in darkness to allow in more light. In Boston on Aug. But if you look at the partial eclipse, the portion of the sun that is visible can cause permanent damage to your eyes. The damage can be temporary or permanent and occurs with no pain.

A solar eclipse will occur across most of the United States on April 8, , including a small band of total solar eclipse stretching from east to west across much of the continent. Before you do, please take the time to learn about the dangers to your vision and how to protect your eyes from injury during the eclipse.

There are many ways to safely enjoy a partial or total solar eclipse using items from around your house. Paul Doherty will show you a few of the easiest methods for safe solar viewing. Just as a magnifying glass can focus enough sunlight onto a leaf to start a fire, the lens in your eye can burn your retina with a sliver of light. Because retinas have no pain receptors, you can permanently damage your vision without even feeling it.

What happens if you look at the solar eclipse without the special glasses?

A solar eclipse occurs when a portion of the Earth is engulfed in a shadow cast by the Moon which fully or partially blocks sunlight. This occurs when the Sun , Moon and Earth are aligned. Such alignment coincides with a new moon syzygy indicating the Moon is closest to the ecliptic plane. In partial and annular eclipses , only part of the Sun is obscured.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, and the moon fully or partially obscures the sun. It is extremely dangerous to look directly at the sun even during a solar eclipse. You should never attempt to observe a total, partial or annular eclipse with the naked eye. The safest technique for viewing a solar eclipse is indirect viewing. For example you can easily project an image of the sun onto a screen or you can view live streams on TV or online.

The What: Eye Safety

People across the United States will have the chance to see a total solar eclipse on Aug. While it may be tempting to brush off warnings about looking up at this eclipse bare-eyed, don't: The light of an eclipse really can damage your eyes — though warnings of total blindness may be overstated. The retina is home to the light-sensing cells that make vision possible. When they're over-stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage is often painless, so people don't realize what they're doing to their vision. Solar retinopathy can be caused by staring at the sun regardless of its phase , but few people can stand to look directly at our nearest star for very long without pain. It does happen occasionally — medical journals record cases in which people high on drugs have stared at the sun for long periods of time, causing serious damage.

Looking directly at the August 21, solar eclipse can damage your What Happens to Your Eyes If You Aug 21,

A total solar eclipse is one of the most awe-inspiring events in nature, but astronomers and ophthalmologists warn that looking at the sun without solar eclipse glasses or other protection can damage your eyes and cause permanent blindness. Totality, the brief period when the moon completely covers the sun, is the only safe time to watch with the naked eye. Lasting from seconds to a maximum of 7.

How to View a Solar Eclipse Without Damaging Your Eyes

Tomososki saw bursts of light, like those from a flashbulb. His vision in his right eye never recovered. A complete solar eclipse is said to be so awe-inspiring that people who experience one become addicts. On Monday Aug.

Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

F or the first time in U. ET on Monday. But those who watch this rare celestial event in person need to take precautions, because staring right at the sun can quickly harm your eyes.

Remember all that talk about eclipse glasses ahead of the full solar eclipse in August?

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