Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

Eye protection is needed for solar eclipses only. Lunar eclipses can be viewed without special eye protection.

Looking directly at the Sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase (“totality”) of a total solar eclipse, when the Moon entirely blocks the Sun’s bright face, which happens only within the narrow path of totality.

This is a brief overview. Please consult recommended sources for full details.

Photo Credit: Evan Zucker

Partial & Annular Solar Eclipse Eye Safety
Partial & Annular Solar Eclipse Eye Safety
All types of Lunar Eclipses are safe to look at without special eye protection.

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality.

Be sure to carefully read the details to understand how to protect your eyes! Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun.

Use eye safety when viewing:

Safe solar eclipse viewing - Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun. Credit: Courtesy Mark Margolis / Rainbow Symphony
CREDIT: Courtesy Mark Margolis / Rainbow Symphony

In these situations, there is no time when it is safe to look directly at the Sun without using a special-purpose solar filter that complies with the transmission requirements of the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

PROTECT YOUR EYES!

How can I view a solar eclipse safely?

The most important this to remember is that it is never safe to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun without the proper safety glasses. The only time you can look at the sun without safety glasses is during the brief moments of totality. There is a lot of great information at NASA and the AAS (American Astronomical Society) about how to safely look directly at the sun as well as indirectly. For all these points and more check out:

Eclipse projector
Solar Eclipse Eye Safety
Using a projection method to view the sun. Image Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Using a projection method to view the sun. Image Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

CREDIT: Music Credit: Chic to Chic by Piero Piccioni • Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SVS

CREDIT: Music credit: Apple of My Eye by Frederik Wiedmann • Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SVS

You don’t necessarily need fancy equipment to watch one of the sky’s most awesome shows: a solar eclipse.

@DawnSunrise1 shows a smart & easy way to have a hands-free multiple pinhole camera setup! Brilliant!!

With just a few simple supplies, you can make a pinhole camera that allows you to view the event safely and easily.

Before you get started, remember: You should never look at the sun directly without equipment that’s specifically designed for solar viewing. Do not use standard binoculars or telescopes to watch the eclipse, as the light could severely damage your eyes. Sunglasses also do NOT count as protection when attempting to look directly at the sun.

Stay safe and still enjoy the sun’s stellar shows by creating your very own pinhole camera. It’s easy!

Eclipse 2017 Pinhole Projector (and hydration for the hot sun!)
Eclipse 2017 Pinhole Projector (and hydration for the hot sun!)
Eclipse 2019 & 2020 Pinhole Projector
Eclipse 2019 & 2020 Pinhole Projector
Eclipse mirror
CREDIT: NASA Goddard/SVS