How to safely view Sunday’s solar eclipse


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If you happen to be in Asia, the Pacific region or the western half of North America this Sunday (May 20), you could be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a solar eclipse.

For those of you who need an astronomy lesson, a solar eclipse is what happens when the moon passes in a direct line between the Earth and the sun. This results in the moon’s shadow blocking the sun’s light as seen from Earth.

Lest you think that you can simply gaze upon the sky, HellaWella is here to set you straight with these tips for safely viewing a solar eclipse courtesy of Sky and Telescope.

  1. Never look at the sun with the naked eye. During the eclipse, the sun is just harmful to your eyes, and while it may be tempting to stare, such action could lead to temporary or even permanent blurred vision.
  2. Instead, use a pinhole projection. To create a pinhole projection, poke a small hole in an index card and face it toward the sun, at the same time, hold a second index card 3 or 4 feet behind the first card. The image should project on the second card.
  3. If you don’t want to bother with index cards and want to see the eclipse directly, use a piece of arc-welder’s glass in shade No. 13 or 14, which can be found at your local welding supply store. Remember, a lower-numbered shade will not diffuse the sun’s light enough for safe viewing.

For more tips on safe eclipse viewing, click here.

Now that you know what a solar eclipse is and how to safely watch one, the only thing left is to know when and where to watch it. Thankfully, the folks at Space.com have provided this handy viewing guide.

Happy eclipse watching!

If you are lucky enough to see the eclipse, tell us about your experience below.