4 Reasons You Need Special Glasses to Watch the Solar Eclipse

Everybody knows about the Seven Wonders of the World, but few actually know what those classic wonders are. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – a.k.a. the classic wonders – are the Colossus of Rhodes, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. There has been plenty of debate regarding what the “new” seven wonders should be, but those who have even the slightest bit of love for astronomy know that nothing could trump the most amazing wonder of them all: the solar eclipse.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the Earth and the Sun, blocking any amount of light from the Sun for a period of up to approximately three hours. If at any point the moon completely blocks light from the Sun, this is called a total eclipse. Total eclipses are rather rare and can only be seen by those in the path of totality.

What are Eclipse Glasses?

Eclipse glasses” can be used to safely view a solar eclipse without causing any damage to your eyes. The American Astronomical Society provides a list of Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers so that you can feel confident that the pair you purchase will properly protect your eyes. Make sure never to use a pair of eclipse glasses that have been damaged in any way.

1- You’ll be staring directly at the sun.

When viewing a solar eclipse, you will be looking directly at the sun for prolonged periods of time. Doing so without safety protection is almost guaranteed to cause damage to your eyes. The solar eclipse could last hours, and any time the sun is visible you would be staring directly at it to view it. The only time you wouldn’t be looking into the sun is when you might be in the path of totality during the total eclipse.

2- Staring at the sun for a long time can cause damage.

As most people know, staring at the sun for an extended period of time can cause a lot of damage to your eyes. This is classified as long-term damage. It would take approximately one hundred seconds – less than two minutes – of looking directly into the sun to permanently damage your eyes. Considering that the solar eclipse could last for hours and you might not be in the path of totality, you would be watching for a lot longer than two minutes. Permanent damage could include cataracts, corneal sunburns, and even growths on the surface of your eye. In more extreme cases, you could even go blind.

3- Even staring at the sun for mere seconds can cause damage.

While it’s common knowledge that long periods of direct exposure to the sun can cause harm to your eyes, most people don’t know that your eyes can be damaged from even staring at the sun for a few seconds. This is known as short-term damage or “solar retinopathy.” The damage is caused by a flood of ultraviolet light into the retina and can include blurred or spotted vision, pain while in bright light, or loss of vision in the fovea (the center of the eye). With that said, even looking up at a solar eclipse for a few seconds could cause damage – which is the most important reason why you need proper safety protection.

4- NASA said so.

When it comes down to it, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said so! This is NASA we’re talking about; if they say that staring directly into the sun can cause damage to your eyes even after only a couple of seconds, it might be better if we just trust them. Science is often argued by skeptical people, but, when all of the experts agree, and there is undeniable proof, it’s hard to say they’re wrong.

NASA and other astronomical organizations like the AAS have put this information out there to protect us. The least we can do is listen and get a pair of eclipse glasses before we view the amazing wonder of a solar eclipse. After all, the only person it benefits is you.

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