With less than a week until the Solar eclipse you may be thinking about picking up some solar viewing glasses so you can get in on this thing that many have been talking about for months now. But why are they talking about it?
Well; this is an event that does not occur often. It also allows us to see things we cannot otherwise, like the suns corona, which was first noticed by ancient Romans and Greeks during a total eclipse. It’s also where we learned about coronal ejections which can mess with out electronics.
These discoveries along with many others over the years are why there will be a plethora of experiments being done on August 21st when this eclipse happens. On their own NASA has 11 projects planned including chasing the eclipse in jets to make it last longer. You can read more about what they have going on here. They are just one of several groups who have plans.
So it is no wonder that scientists are excited about the eclipse, but for the rest of us it is a spectacle that we hardly ever get to experience. But its also dangerous; we even spoke about the safe ways to view the eclipse on here previously, and on general solar viewing a year ago. The American Optometrist Association has double down on that with a warning about solar glasses and a handy pamphlet.
You can download that and read a bit more on their safety suggestions on their website.
Some eye experts also issued a warning about keeping a close eye on the kids and why the solar glasses are perhaps not the best viewing method for them. They mentioned that kids are the most likely to remove their glasses to get a peak with their own eyes and that is a sure way to get solar retinopathy, which is damage to the retina, and could damage their eyes for life.
All it takes is 30 to 60 seconds, during which you might not notice any problems, and then afterwards you would begin to notice problems with your vision. They suggest children, or everyone, use pinhole viewers for complete surety about safety.
However you view the Solar Eclipse, it should be a great show, and one we won’t see again for at least 7 years.
Image from Luc Viatour