While the sky will temporarily go dark during Monday afternoon’s solar eclipse, Dr. Cassandra Martinson from Perry’s Eye Care Associates says there is still danger in not using protective eye wear to watch the event. Looking directly into the sun can be harmful, despite the sun’s coverage during the eclipse.
“It is the same as looking into the sun,” said Dr. Martinson. “People tend to be more concerned about the eclipse is because during the eclipse, because the sun doesn’t seem as bright, you don’t have the same tendencies as you would on a normal day.”
“So in general, people are able to look at it longer which causes more damage.”
For those who choose to check out the eclipse, Dr. Martinson warns of Solar Retinopathy, a condition that occurs when the retina is burned.
“People can actually see the crescent that’s visible [a sliver of sun exposed during the eclipse], there’s an after image,” Dr. Martinson said.
To safely view the solar eclipse, Dr. Martinson recommends the pinhole method with a cardboard box, similar to a projector.
Perry High School Science teacher, Tonia Prombo, describes how do-it-yourself (D.I.Y.) projects work as a substitute for solar eclipse glasses.
“It essentially creates a mirror without having to look directly into the sun,” said Prombo. “Essentially what would happen, because you have the light, it reflects; when you build those it acts like a reflective, and so there’s always reflection and refraction, and it will reflect off and refract off the area of the box right next to where it [solar eclipse] was.”
Prombo says the pinhole boxes are easy to make.
“People can make them using a simple shoe box and that’s definitely the safe way to view it,” Prombo said. “It allows them to be able to let them see whats happening without risking that damage.”
The power of the sun is often forgotten, Prombo describes.
“The sun gives off an immense amount of radiation, so ever so often, we [the Earth] could be closer [to the sun],” Prombo said. “So at one point, you’re always going to be a little bit closer during the rotation of the sun.”
During Monday’s solar eclipse, the Perry Public Library will also be hosting a Free Watch Party at 12 p.m. A limited amount of Solar Eclipse Glasses will be on hand for those who attend.
The safest way to view the solar eclipse is through solar eclipse approved glasses or building a simple pinhole box without looking directly into the sun.