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Viewing Safety for the Total Solar Eclipse


On August 21, over 300 million people in the United States may be able to watch a total solar eclipse. If you’re interested in checking out this solar event, we want to make sure you do so safely.

Staring directly at the Sun without eye protection can cause damage to your vision. To view the solar eclipse, you’ll want to have the appropriate tools in hand.

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. NASA recommends that people who plan to view the eclipse should check the safety authenticity of viewing glasses to ensure they meet basic proper safety viewing standards. Eclipse viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers should meet all the following criteria:

  • Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
  • Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product

To protect your vision, keep these warnings in mind:

  • Do not use solar viewers if they are over 3 years old or have scratched/wrinkled lenses.
  • Do not use homemade filters.
  • Do not use ordinary sunglasses, even if they have very dark lenses.

Click here to learn more about viewing safety and to find a list of reputable vendors of solar viewing tools.

To most important thing to remember is that a total solar eclipse is about as bright as a full moon, making is just as safe to view. However, a total eclipse is very brief and you will need eye protection to safely watch the solar event from start to finish.

The last time Americans were able to experience a total solar eclipse was 1991. To brush up on your eclipse knowledge, click here.