We’re just days away from the eclipse! It’s an exciting time, especially with the path of totality going through Wyoming. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding eye safety:
I live in a city that’s close, but not in the path of totality. Do I need to be concerned about eye safety?
No matter your location, everyone needs proper protective eyewear to view the eclipse. If you are in an area of totality, only during totality, could you view the eclipse unprotected. At all other times, eclipse viewing glasses must be worn when looking toward the sun / eclipse. Be very careful to get them back on just before totality ends. Again, if you are in locations like Cheyenne that will not experience totality, eclipse viewing glasses must be worn the entire time.
What’s the difference between eclipse glasses and sunglasses?
Eclipse glasses filter out significantly more light than regular sunglasses. The American Astronomical Society has a thorough list of reputable vendors.
Can I take pictures of the eclipse?
Special solar filters that cover the front of the lens (not the eye piece!) are needed to protect both your eyes and your equipment. This is true not just for cameras, but telescopes and binoculars as well. In addition, you should wear your eclipse glasses while looking through cameras, telescopes and binoculars, leaving you with a very dim image. We recommend enjoying the experience and leaving photography to the professionals.
I recently had eye surgery, do I have to avoid the eclipse?
No, so long as you follow the rules above, you too can enjoy this once in a life time experience.
3 tips for safely viewing the eclipse:
- Buy a pair of eclipse glasses for every member of your family from a reliable vendor (go to the link listed above to be sure they are safe). Grab an extra pair in case one is damaged!
- Check glasses before use. Yes, even your new pair! If there are scratches, wrinkles, or tears present, discard them.
- Learn how to identify when it’s safe to take off your glasses. The time right before and after a total eclipse (only seen in areas with totality, not Cheyenne) is when your eyes are even more vulnerable to the sun’s rays. Always turn away from the sun before removing your glasses.
Whether you’re traveling to be in the path of totality, or viewing from the comfort of your front yard, do as Bill Nye the Science Guy would say, “Be wise; protect your eyes!”