How to view a solar eclipse


How to protect your eyes during the solar eclipse

  • North America will have a total solar eclipse on April 8.
  • Looking at an eclipse without eye protection can cause eye injury.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, some people across the country will see a total solar eclipse. It will cross parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada. The sky will go dark in the daytime, as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking the face of the sun.

The total eclipse will not be visible for most of the Midwest; however, in the Twin Cities the skies will begin to darken around 12:49 p.m. Maximum darkness will hit at about 2:02 p.m. and end at 3:14 p.m.

You’re probably thinking, “It’s going to be dark. Why would we need to protect our eyes?” The moon will slowly obstruct the power of the sun until up to 75% of rays are blocked. Even with this much of the sun eclipsed, the remaining solar rays are no joke. They can harm your unprotected eyes. They also can burn through faulty filters or improper lenses that claim to protect your eyes.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Solar eclipse glasses must meet a world-wide standard known as ISO 12312-2.
  • Use specialized eye protection like what’s on this list of safe solar viewers.
  • If your safe solar viewers are damaged, do not use them.
  • Always supervise children while they’re using solar viewers.

how to view a solar eclipse

Text-only version of how to protect your eyes during the eclipse

The added risk with lens

It can't be stressed enough that looking straight at the sun can cause permanent damage to the retina.

Do not view the partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera lens, telescope, binoculars or similar devices. This is even true if you are wearing eclipse glasses or holding a solar viewer while looking through the lens. An unprotected camera or telescope lens can intensify the power of the sun. Ask an expert before using devices like these to view the sun. 

The big points again

The only safe way to directly view the sun during a solar eclipse is with a special solar filter or eclipse glasses. Do not use filters or glasses with any damage or scratches. Ordinary sunglasses or homemade filters are not safe for viewing the sun. 

Put the eclipse glasses on or hold the solar filter in front of your eyes before looking at the eclipse. Do not remove them until after you’ve turned away. Enjoy the show carefully!


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