In case you missed it, a solar eclipse will be visible in North America for the first time since 2000 today. This is an exciting event and a good learning opportunity for you and your kids! However, it’s also important to know that you shouldn’t look directly at the sun when there’s a social eclipse.
Looking at the eclipse with the naked eye can cause permanent eye damage, such as permanent blurred vision or black spots. If you’re looking at the sun without glasses, it’s essentially doing the same thing to your eyes as taking a magnifying glass and burning an ant. If you do have the proper viewing glasses, you can see the moon gradually cover more and more of the sun.
To make sure you have certified eclipse glasses, look for glasses that say they meet the ISO 1231-2 requirements on them. NASA and the American Astronomical Society also recommend you buy them from an American manufacturer. They also warn against using dangerous fake glasses, without the certification, that were sold on Amazon.
You should test your glasses before the solar eclipse. The only thing you should be able to see through the glasses is the sun. If you can see any other lights through them, they’re not safe to use.
Even if you don’t have glasses, there are still ways you can safely view the eclipse. You can make a pinhole viewer to project an image of the sun on paper or the ground. You can also use your phone and view the eclipse in “selfie mode,” though there’s a slight chance this could damage your phone’s camera.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to give your child some science lessons and experience a rare phenomenon! You can see when the eclipse will happen for you here.