Solar Eclipse 2024: A Guide To Viewing Safely

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Solar Eclipse 2024: A Guide to Viewing Safely

The solar eclipse 2024 is happening today and will be a huge phenomenon to witness in the U.S. But before you go out to see it, make sure that you have the essential glasses to look directly at the sun, because viewing it with bare eyes or an ordinary pair of glasses can prove to be fatal for your eyes’ health. The solar eclipse will be visible from some parts of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada on April 8, 2024. The eclipse is estimated to travel a distance of 115 miles from Texas to Maine in America. And if someone is not able to travel the whole distance along, they can view partial parts of the eclipsed sun from different states of the US.

The kind of glasses that one needs to wear to view the solar eclipse should not be any ordinary pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses. These should be extra-dark shades that can block almost all the light, thereby protecting the retinas from any damage while watching the sun. While it may not be visible easily, looking at an eclipsed sun can damage an individual’s eyesight within a matter of seconds. Ninel Gregori, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and an ophthalmologist at the University of Miami said “When looking directly at the sun, you are at risk for solar retinopathy, or retinal burns caused by a high-intensity light.”

The retina senses the light at the back of the eyeball. When it is exposed to different wavelengths of light, retinal cells known as rods and cones release chemicals, that subsequently send trigger electric signals which then travel along the optic nerve to the brain. When chemicals are released in excess from these retinal cells, free radicals are generated and oxygen species are reactivated. These in turn damage the cells. These damages can have long-term impacts or may remain permanent. The damages may be realized after a few hours of exposure and symptoms may include a hazy or blind spot at the center of one’s vision and distorted or altered color vision. 

It is advisable to not use eclipse glasses with other apparatuses such as binoculars, cameras, or telescopes. The optics of such objects concentrate light beyond what eclipse glasses can block. However there are special viewing glasses designed for such phenomena. These can be used with cameras, telescopes, and binoculars, and also be of anyone’s use who are viewing at the sun with more than just their eyes. 

One can wear welding glasses with a shade number  of 12 to 14 to watch the solar eclipse. Special eclipse glasses are made up of either an aluminized polyester or a black polymer which is made up of carbon particles that are suspended in resin.

Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024

Solar eclipse happens when the moon comes in between the earth and sun and obstructs sun’s rays from entering the earth. This time, the eclipse is set to appear on the skies of North America and at 9:12 pm; which will end at 2:22 p.m (as per Indian Standard Time).

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