Why it is Dangerous To Look at an Eclipse?

People looking at solar eclipse
People looking at solar eclipse | Image by Sean Rayford/Getty Images

There are good reasons why experts say that viewing the eclipse on April 8 without proper eyewear is dangerous.

During a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. While light will drastically dim, the solar radiation emitted by the sun is still dangerous. Wearing appropriate eyewear that complies with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard is essential to view the eclipse safely.

“A very small dose could cause harm to some people,” Dr. Yehia Hashad, an ophthalmologist, retinal specialist, and the chief medical officer at eye health company Bausch + Lomb, said in an interview with CBS News. “That’s why we say the partial eclipse could also be damaging. And that’s why we protect our eyes with the partial as well as with the full sun.”

It is possible to experience the eclipse without glasses. A paper plate with a small hole poked in it will project the eclipse onto another plate. Another way to use a similar technique is to make a pinhole camera. To make a pinhole camera, cut a piece of white paper and fit it into a box. Cut two holes in the top and seal one hole with aluminum foil, then poke a hole. Stand with the sun to your back and look through the open hole while adjusting the box to project the eclipse. Any object with a small hole can project the eclipse, including Cheez-it crackers, Cheerios, a colander, or even a barbecue charcoal chimney starter.

Experts caution that regular sunglasses are not adequate protection; however, welders’ goggles offer enough protection to view the eclipse safely. Viewing the eclipse on your cell phone camera is also not advised without a filter on the lens. The sun’s rays can still damage your eyes on the screen. Binoculars and telescopes must also use a filter to view the eclipse to prevent damage to the viewer’s eyes.

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