The Solar Eclipse: Is it Safe to Watch?

By: Donna McAllister, PA-C

In the age of 3-D movies with crazy computer generated effects, it is hard to find something to watch that really wows us. Well Mother Nature is putting on a show on August 21st that is sure to impress!! At 2:40 pm we will be able to view a rare solar eclipse. This only happens once every 40 years and it just so happens that this one is happening in our backyard, literally!! The moon will pass in between the

earth and the sun, and block the sun from our view. This event will be seen all across North America from Oregon to South Carolina. In Savannah, we will be within the range to witness a 90%-95% total solar eclipse.

I don’t know about you, but my mom always warned me not to look directly at the sun or I would go blind. So, how are we supposed to view this amazing event? There are a few ways to view the eclipse safely. You can buy a pair of specially made glasses to wear while looking at the eclipse. To find a list of vendors for these glasses go to https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters. If you have a telescope, be sure to purchase the correct filter to protect your eyes from the intense sunlight just before and after the total eclipse.

When the moon is completely blocking the sun, a moment called totality, is the only time that it is save to view the eclipse with the naked eye. Totality only lasts for a few seconds. It is the time before and after that your eyes are at the most risk of damage from the sunlight. You may hear about some homemade filters for viewing the eclipse, but don’t take a chance with your eyesight. For more information about safely viewing the eclipse go to https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.