Are Eclipses Dangerous?
Learn about them, and you’ll be able to watch them safely!
Looking at the Sun is always dangerous, and it isn’t any better or worse during an eclipse. If you’ve read our piece on what it is about looking at the Sun that hurts your eyes, you can see that it’s dangerous! We all have this almost instinctive thing we do whenever the Sun accidentally gets into our field of vision – we squint, we close our eyes, we turn our heads away almost immediately, because the Sun is just too bright to look at. When we’re driving into a sunrise or sunset, and the Sun is just exactly at the wrong place, we have to get creative with the visor in our car, to put it where it will block the Sun and allow us to still safely see the road, or that red light as we wait for it to change. We don’t want that bright Sun in our eyes!
Normally, this is all the protection we need, to make sure our eyes stay safe – we just simply DON’T look at the Sun!
So now that there’s a total eclipse of the Sun going on, and we want to look at it because we’ve heard it’s really cool, our natural instincts get in the way. This time, we WANT to look at the Sun, and some people actually do it anyway – and hurt their eyes. We have to tell you again, DON’T LOOK at the Sun without proper eye protection!
Other people try to use something to block the Sun’s rays that won’t be good enough, and they too run the risk of seriously injuring their eyes. We won’t list all the things people try to use, because we don’t want you doing that, either.
But veteran eclipse chasers and astronomers DO look at the Sun during eclipses, using special solar filters that block out enough of the bad UV rays and the really bright light. They don’t hurt their eyes, and they enjoy the eclipse. What’s their secret? They’re using equipment that’s designed for the job they’re trying to do.
There are many people who do lots of things that are dangerous, like…flying, mountain climbing, scuba diving, car racing, hang gliding, sailing across the ocean, exploring a cave, bungee jumping, practicing archery, going to work as an electrician, or a roofer, carpenter, mechanic, firefighter, window washer, arc welder, astronaut, truck driver, sheetmetal worker… SO MANY THINGS that people do all the time are absolutely dangerous, but people do them every day, safely, because they use the right equipment, and they use it correctly.
You can look at all the information we have available on using eclipse glasses or other methods of viewing an eclipse, and you can look all over the Internet to learn about how to safely watch an eclipse. What you’ll find is, the bottom line is this:
That’s the rule. If you use safe methods, and safe products, according to the instructions for use that are provided by the manufacturers (and right here on eclipse2024.org), then your eclipse experience will be fun AND SAFE!