Solar eclipse safety – Message from DCDEE

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Viewing next week’s solar eclipse without proper eye protection can result in permanent eye damage.  Follow sun safety even during an eclipse!

On Monday, August 21 the entire continental U.S. will experience a solar eclipse! It will be the first time in 99 years that a total solar eclipse can be viewed coast-to-coast across the United States.

A small portion of Western North Carolina is included in the path of totalityof the eclipse, beginning at 2:33 p.m. The rest of the state will experience a partial eclipse. Consult local news and weather stations for exact viewing times in your area.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Division of Child Development and Early Education encourage people who plan to view Monday’s solar eclipse to use proper eye protection and take steps to reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

Even though the moon is passing in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective, the sun is still incredibly bright, and looking directly at it can damage any skywatcher’s eyesight. Because there are no pain receptors in the retina of your eye, you can damage your eyes without even knowing it is happening.

Safety Tips

  • Do not look directly at the sun, including during an eclipse, without proper eye protection.

Eclipse viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers should:

.   Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard

.   Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product

.   Not be used if they are older than three years or have scratched or wrinkled lenses

.   Sunglasses cannot be used in place of solar viewing glasses.

  • NASA recommends avoiding homemade filters. NEVER look at the sun through binoculars, a telescope or a camera lens without a solar filter, or using a homemade filter — the magnified light can damage your eyes faster than looking at the sun unaided.

The American Astronomical Society has a list of suggested vendors of solar eclipse filters and viewers here:


Damage from viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection may not be noticeable right away, but could make seeing difficult the next day and may result in long-term or permanent eye damage.

Those who expect to be outside for an extended period of time should be sure to drink plenty of fluids and not leave children or pets unattended or in vehicles.

Additional safety tips from NASA can be found here:

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