There’s a Solar Eclipse on April 8th: How to Safely View It

On April 8th, many states in North America are in for something spectacular: a total solar eclipse. For those of us who don’t remember astronomy, that means the moon will pass between the sun and the earth, completely blocking it. The last solar eclipse was in 2017, and (somewhat famously) then-President Donald Trump stared directly at it bare eyed—a huge health concern.

“Staring at the solar eclipse without eye protection, even for just a few seconds, can cause solar retinopathy, a potentially drastic and permanent reduction of vision without cure,” says Nitish Mehta, MD, ophthalmologist at NYU Langone Health. But vision protection is easy to come by and can even by DIY-ed at home, the doctor adds. “Indirectly viewing the solar eclipse is safest. You can create a homemade pinhole projector, which focuses light through a small hole, projecting the beauty of the eclipse onto a sheet of white paper. It can also be a fun project for the family in preparation for viewing an eclipse. Additionally, something as simple as holding up a colander to the sun and watching the small dots of light land on the ground can also work.”

There’s also those famed paper glasses. If you want to go that route—which means you’ll be able to stare directly at the eclipse—make sure Mehta says the shades need to be International Society of Organization verified to protect your eyes. “Fakes are commonplace online, so make sure to inspect them carefully as they should be extremely dark and not have any scratches, tears, or holes in them that could allow in unfiltered light.”

There are so many ways to enjoy the spectacular views of 2024’s solar eclipse without risking your vision. Next up, plan your outfit.


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