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How to Experience the Upcoming Solar Eclipse Without Damaging Your Vision

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Tips on how to safely view this once-in-a-lifetime event

On Aug. 21, millions of people in the U.S. will see day turn to night as North America falls under the path of a total solar eclipse. This will be the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire U.S. in 99 years.

Although we in California won’t be viewing the eclipse from under its “path of totality” (where the moon completely covers the sun) we will still be privy to an amazing partial eclipse. According to NASA, anywhere from 50-80% of the sun will be blocked by the moon in our area. Experts estimate the eclipse to start at 9:02 am in Sacramento, with the peak of the sun’s obscurity by 10:17 am.

We want you to experience this celestial phenomenon safely. While you’re out viewing the eclipse, remember:

Sunglasses cannot be used in place of solar viewing glasses

Viewing even the smallest sliver of a crescent sun peeking out from behind the moon is enough to cause irreversible damage to your vision. Anyone planning to view the total solar eclipse of 2017 should get a pair of solar viewing glasses. Make sure they’re up to standard–they should be marked ISO 12312-2.
You can purchase eclipse glasses at the Powerhouse Science Center’s gift shop in Sacramento. The following four companies also sell eclipse glasses that meet the international standard (ISO 12312-2) recommended by NASA, the AAS and other scientific organizations:

  • Rainbow Symphony
  • American Paper Optics
  • Thousand Oaks Optical
  • TSE 17

Bonus glasses. According to experts, welder’s glasses shade 14 or darker may also be used to view the eclipse.

Practice safe device use. While viewing the eclipse through devices like your camera or binoculars, do not use solar eclipse glasses. The sun can melt the filter and damage your eyes. Instead, use solar filters on camera lenses, binoculars, and telescopes.

Viewing the eclipse. Make sure you are looking at the ground before you put on your eclipse eyewear. If you wear prescription glasses, put the eclipse eyewear on over them before looking up at the sun. Before taking the eclipse eyewear off, direct your sight away from the sun.

Viewing Party. Join us at all four of our locations Monday, August 21 at 10:00 am to view the eclipse! We’ll have FREE ISO-approved eclipse glasses (while supplies last), themed refreshments and a special 30% off sunglasses promo going on all day! See our Facebook event for details: https://goo.gl/kPxrjx

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.