2017: A Total Solar Eclipse

Eye Safety is Critical During the Upcoming Eclipse

There are a number or precautions you need to follow regarding eye safety, looking directly at the sun during most parts of an eclipse can permanently damage your vision or blind you.  Individuals who do not take proper precautions run the risk of damaging their retinas or possibly causing blindness.

There are easy ways to safely view this historical event; the American Academy of ophthalmology recommends the following steps for safely watching a solar eclipse:

  • Make sure that your glasses meet the specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2, this number will be located on the glasses.

  • Carefully look at your solar filter or eclipse glasses before using them.  If you see any scratches or damage, DO NOT USE THEM.

  • Always read and follow all directions that come with the solar filter or eclipse glasses.  Help children to be sure they use handheld solar viewers and eclipse glasses correctly.

  • Before looking up at the bright sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer.  After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter – do not remove it while looking at the sun.

  • The only time that you can look at the sun without a solar viewer is during a total eclipse.  When the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets dark, you can remove your solar filter to watch this unique experience.  Then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear very slightly, immediately use your solar viewer again to watch the remaining partial phase of the eclipse.

  • Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other similar devices.  This is important even if you are wearing eclipse glasses or holding a solar viewer at the same time.  The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes.  Your camera, telescope or binoculars could also be damaged.

For information about where to get proper eyewear or handheld viewers, check out the American Astronomical Society at https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/eyewear-viewers. The AAO also points out that another way to see the eclipse is through a pinhole projection, which projects an image of the sun onto another surface, like paper, a wall or pavement.  The image of the sun is safe to look at throughout the eclipse.  More information on pinhole projectors and safe-viewing devices can be found at https://www.jpl.nasa.gov.edu/learn/project/how-to-make-a-pinhole-camera/.

A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. Looking directly at the Sun is unsafe except during the brief phase of a solar eclipse, known as totality. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or hand held-solar viewers. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime. – https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety


The total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 will last approximately 90 minutes and most people will be outdoors for this historic event. Heat and humidity in Missouri can be dangerous. Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. Learn how to prevent and spot the warning signs of heat-related illnesses before it’s too late. Beat the heat! – http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/hyperthermia/heatprecautions.php

Heat and humidity can be dangerous in Missouri. Prevent heat related-illnesses before it’s too late.  Stay hydrated and beat the heat.  https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html


Millions of people will be outside on August 21, 2017 to watch this year’s total solar eclipse which will last for approximately 90 minutes. Use repellants to protect yourself against ticks and mosquitoes while outside during the solar eclipse. – http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/tickscarrydisease/index.php

Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can cause certain diseases. To help fight the bite, apply insect repellent(https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html) containing DEET to exposed skin. Be sure to follow directions on the package. Check for ticks daily, and remove them promptly. Wear long sleeves, pants, and other light-colored clothing to help prevent and spot ticks more easily.


If you are venturing away from home to see the eclipse, make sure to carry a first-aid kit and enough food and water for an emergency. Always let friends or relatives know your travel plans. With a little bit of planning and by taking precautions, your outdoor experiences can be treasured for a lifetime.