The Solar Eclipse, Stay Safe!
Never stare directly at the sun

The Solar Eclipse, Stay Safe!

If you miss the solar eclipse tomorrow, you may have to wait a long, long time to see the next one. Are you prepared?

We last experienced a total eclipse of the sun in August 1999, but did you know that the following year the Royal College of Opthalmologists published a study detailing the effects on those who viewed the eclipse. An astonishing 70 people reported a loss of vision.?Make sure you're not part of the statistics for 2015.

We cannot stress the importance enough: never ever look directly at the sun as you'll be at a high risk of retinal burns. Much of northern Europe, including us in the UK, will be plunged into darkness on Friday morning for a number of minutes. The moon will move between the sun and the earth, blocking the light from the sun.

We will experience a "partial eclipse" in the UK, with the darkest conditions expected up in Scotland and the north of England. The College of Optometrists has again warned people about the potential severe damage to the eyes if they are not properly protected.

Witnessing a solar eclipse is a rare and amazing event which we're sure many people will want to make the most of. We just want to make sure people do so safely, without putting their sight, many people's most precious sense, at risk. You should never look directly at the sun and that applies when there's a total or partial eclipse as well. This is because the radiation emitted by the sun is so powerful it may cause a solar burn of the retina. Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser at the College of Optometrists

Retinal burns can cause significant and sometimes permanent loss of sight.

The college offers the following advice:

  • Don't look directly at the sun, even wearing sunglasses.
  • Don't watch directly through a telescope, binoculars, camera or camera-phone
  • Do use the pinhole projection method. This involves putting a hole in a piece of cardboard and holding it up - with your back to the sun - so that an image of the sun is projected on to another piece of paper or card.
  • Do use glasses with CE marked solar filters.

Also, never point an unprotected camera lens at the sun as this can cause permanent damage to the camera and to your eyes. To take photos of the sun without damaging your camera, you will need to use a solar filter recommended by your camera manufacturer. Detailed advice about eclipses is also available from the Royal Astronomical Society.

The image below hits home just how tiny we are compared to the sun - would you really want to stare directly at that?


Image Source: infinity-imagined.tumblr.com

Apparently northern areas of the UK will be fairly cloudy and damp so viewing will be rather limited - down here in the south we may see more of the effect as we've been forecast clearer skies tomorrow morning, though more likely down towards southwestern parts of the UK will see more of the partial solar eclipse.

Remember - never stare directly at the sun.

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