It has been 38 years since the United State last saw a total solar eclipse, and millions of people across the country are excited for the Monday evening spectacle.
Before you gaze at the sky, there are some things you should do to prepare.
Most importantly, do not look directly at the sun without eye protection.
“Even looking at the sun for a few seconds can cause severe damage to the eyes, specifically what is called photo keratopathy or damage to the cornea–the surface of the eye–or solar retinopathy or maculopathy which is damage to the retina, a nerve tissue inside the eye. That damage can be permanent,” said Miguel Busquets with Associates in Ophthalmology.
If you want to look directly at the eclipse, you will need eclipse sunglasses.
They are different than regular sunglasses in that they have much stronger protection from the sun’s rays. You can also use welder’s glasses, but they must have a rating of 14 or higher.
Be careful of using telescopes and cameras. If they do not have special ultraviolet protection, your eyes face the same dangers.
“Telescopes and cameras also have to be eclipse approved and have solar filters. The key for this is that everything you would use to look at this would either have to be a pin hole projector or have a solar filter,” said Busquets.
You can watch the eclipse indirectly by making a pinhole projector with paper or a small box. This will project an image of the sun so you are not looking directly at it.
Find instructions on how to make a pin hole projector here.