Eclipse viewing 101

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On Monday, August 21, a pretty rare phenomenon will take place in the sky over North America — a total eclipse of the sun. And while San Antonio won’t be within the path of totality (where it will be completely dark), it will still be a pretty cool thing to witness — if you do it safely.

“Eclipse watchers risk permanent loss of vision if they look directly at the sun during an eclipse,” said Dr. Daniel A. Johnson, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at UT Health.

The only safe way to look directly at the phenomenon is through special filters such as eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or sunglasses — even those with very dark lenses — will not protect your eyes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and NASA have eclipse safety tips and resources.

If you haven’t already gotten your eclipse glasses or filter, it may be too late. However the American Astronomical Society has instructions on some safe, alternative viewing methods — including a pinhole projector, a sun funnel and other ideas.

The Scobee Planetarium will have a partial solar eclipse celebration on Monday. More information is available here.

For another alternative viewing experience, NASA will be livestreaming the eclipse from locations across the country.

Image courtesy American Astronomical Society