(EFFINGHAM, IL) – There is great excitement surrounding the upcoming Solar Eclipse, when the moon blocks any part of the sun. On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) across all of North America. The whole continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting two to three hours. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the last time most Americans experienced a total solar eclipse was 1991.
Although this is a golden opportunity to observe one of nature’s most interesting splendors, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital recommends the following safety tips from NASA experts to enjoy nature’s spectacle while preventing damage to your eyes:
Never look directly at the sun without special solar filters. It is never safe to look directly at the sun – even if the sun is partly obscured. During the short time of a solar eclipse when the moon completely obscures the sun – known as the period of totality – it is safe to look directly at the star, but only a very limited area in southern Illinois will experience totality. A majority of the United States (and Illinois) will experience a partial eclipse, when special certified solar eclipse viewing glasses should remain on at all times when looking at the sun. For information on the time and totality of the solar eclipse in your area, visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-maps.
The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters. You should use certified solar eclipse viewing glasses or certified hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
No matter what recommended technique you use, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and give your eyes a rest!
HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital will be handing out special certified solar glasses and safety tips for viewing the partial solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the hospital Main Lobby off of Maple Street. St. Anthony’s urges caution while using the glasses and recommends following NASA’s safety tips above. Glasses will be available while supplies last.
Following the safety tips above will help ensure you are taking the most precautions possible to be able to view this natural phenomenon as safely as possible. For more information about Solar Eclipse safety, please visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.