On April 8th, a total solar eclipse will pass through Arkansas, providing an amazing view for residents and tourists alike. It’s crucial to watch this extraordinary event safely to avoid causing permanent damage to your eyes. Here are some safe methods to do so:
- Solar Eclipse Glasses: Purchase a pair of solar eclipse glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. These glasses are designed specifically for safely viewing the sun and will protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation. Make sure the glasses are not damaged or scratched before use.
- Solar Filters: Use solar filters specifically designed for telescopes, binoculars, or cameras. These filters can be attached to the front of your optical device to block out harmful sunlight. Never look through optical devices at the sun without a proper solar filter.
- Pinhole Projector: Create a simple pinhole projector using two sheets of stiff paper or cardboard. Poke a small hole in one sheet, then hold it up to the sun while positioning the second sheet a few feet away. An inverted image of the sun is projected onto the second sheet. This method allows you to view the eclipse indirectly.
- Solar Viewing Cards: Solar viewing cards, also known as eclipse shades or solar viewers, are another safe option. These cards have a small solar filter material that allows you to view the sun indirectly.
- Telescopes with Solar Filters: If you have a telescope, make sure it has a solar filter installed before using it to observe the sun. Directly viewing the sun through a telescope without a proper filter can cause serious eye damage.
- Live Streams: If you cannot safely view the eclipse in person or if weather conditions aren’t favorable, consider watching a live stream of the event online or on television.
Here is a video from the Associated Press with more great information including the folks at Explore Scientific, a Springdale, Arkansas-based company with a “mission to make astronomy accessible and provide a truly transformative experience by giving enthusiasts of all skill levels the tools and guidance they need to explore the skies.”
Remember, never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection, even during an eclipse. Doing so can cause permanent eye damage or blindness. Additionally, avoid using homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, as they do not provide adequate protection.