Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024: Do’s and Don’ts

By Dr.Manoj Sharma-

Dr.Manoj Sharma

Dr. Sharma is a Professor and Chair of the Social and Behavioral Health Department and an Adjunct Professor in Internal Medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He is a global expert in health promotion.

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun thus casting a shadow. A complete solar eclipse will be occurring on April 8, 2024, that will be visible in North America. This will turn the day into darkness because the Moon’s angular diameter will be larger to prevent sunlight from reaching the Earth. The eclipse will start to appear in Mexico, moving through Texas and then the Midwest and sliding onto Canada.  Several people want to watch the solar eclipse, but some precautions need to be kept in mind.

First, never watch the solar eclipse with the naked eye even if briefly. It can lead to permanent damage to the retina.  The rays of the sun may appear to be weak but in fact, they are as intense as usual and can cause retinal burns.  While this advice not to see the solar eclipse without protection is commonly given out, oftentimes people forget it or take it lightly leading to mishaps. If you want to watch the eclipse, you must use eclipse-certified glasses that are much darker than the usual sunglasses.  One can technically take off the eclipse-certified glasses during totality when the sun is completely eclipsed but that time is very brief so one should avoid taking any chances. Furthermore, most places only experience partial solar eclipse and not total.

Second, one must avoid the use of binoculars or telescopes to watch the sun. The same is true for cameras. Some people mistakenly believe that using cameras to watch the solar eclipse is safe but that is not true, and it can also cause instantaneous damage to the eyes.

Third, do not try to make eclipse-certified glasses at home. Eclipse-certified glasses are designed to block 99.99 percent of the light or about a thousand times the blockage of standard sunglasses thus those cannot be created at home.

Fourth, watch children very carefully. Therefore, it is often advocated not to go outside as some children may accidentally or carelessly look at the sun and damage their eyes.

Finally, some people believe that watching the solar eclipse for a second or two is not going to be harmful.  This should also be avoided at all costs. Even a very brief exposure of a second can cause retinal damage especially because the reflex of not looking away is not working during that time.

To sum up, be very vigilant and careful during the solar eclipse so as not to expose your eyes to the rays of the sun. If you are keen on watching the phenomenon use eclipse-certified glasses in the prescribed manner only.



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