Swinging Girl

Countdown to the Solar Eclipse



Solar Eclipse and Sun Viewing Safety Tips

On August 21, you will have the chance to see an amazing astronomical event. Let's talk about how to view the solar eclipse safely!

GlassesBoy with Solar Viewer

There is only one safe way to look directly at the sun and that is with a pair of special-purpose eclipse glasses. They aren't a permanent addition to your wardrobe, so they are often made of cardboard.

When you visit Imagination Station, ask for your FREE solar eclipse glasses. We're giving away one pair to each visitor. But make sure to visit soon – quantities are limited! 

If you are getting your own pair, follow NASA's criteria for certified eye protection:
  • Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard

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

  • Do not use if older than three years, scratched or wrinkled

  • Do not use homemade glasses; you may use homemade pinhole viewers (scroll down for more info)

  • Ordinary sunglasses – even very dark ones – should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers

The American Astronomical Society has put together a list of reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers. Check it out!  

Check this out!

 Don't just take it from us, here's an optometrist explaining how important solar safety is! Video courtesy of our partner, 13abc.

Video of Doctor

Pinhole projection NASA Pinhole Viewer web page

The other option is to not look directly at the eclipse but to use a pinhole projection method. A simple example of this is to poke a hole into a piece of paper and hold that pinhole up to the sun while you observe the projected image that is shining onto another surface behind the paper. Do not look at the sun through the pinhole. This is not safe.

No photos, please

Please be aware that you will not be able to photograph the eclipse without the appropriate solar filters for the lens. If you point and shoot directly at the sun, you will damage your camera. Fry it. Destroy it. And besides, you don't want to be distracted with trying to get a good photo and actually miss watching the once-in-a-generation event unfold with your own solar glasses-covered eyes.

AHHH my eyes!!! Eye

Normally there is no reason you would look at the sun, and even if you tried, you would naturally look away after a few seconds. But because a large portion of the light is going to be blocked, your eyes will be tricked into thinking you can stare for a longer period of time. If you were to stare at the sun without proper safety gear it may seem like nothing is wrong, but you're slowly burning the cells off your retina. The retina is the part of your eye that transmits the information your eye sees to the brain. This can lead to partial or complete blindness!

Did we mention never look directly at the sun
without certified solar eyeglasses? sun in sky

If we were in the path of totality, it would be safe to remove your solar eclipse glasses and look directly at the sun during the brief minute or two when the moon's shadow completely covers the sun. But because we are being treated to a partial solar eclipse, it is essential that viewers keep on the solar glasses or use an indirect viewing method to look at the sun. In Toledo, the sun will never be totally covered and even a small sliver of light is enough to cause permanent eye damage.