by B. E. Lewis, RDPFS Intern:
The autumn skies will be filled with wonders for stargazers this October. An annular solar eclipse will be partially visible across the U.S. on October 14, 2023. Unlike a total solar eclipse, an annular eclipse means that the outer corona of the sun will be visible to the eye. Viewing an eclipse can expose your eyes to damaging rays of the sun. “Never look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse…(That) can cause permanent damage to your eyes,” warns Prevent Blindness. Without proper eye protection, “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy (damaging central vision) can occur, which may be temporary or permanent. Eye symptoms also may include distorted vision and changes in color vision. “If you notice symptoms after viewing a solar eclipse, seek treatment from an eye care professional.” To prevent problems, use expert-approved solar eclipse safety glasses. If these are unavailable, the eclipse can be viewed with “pinhole projection.” This do-it-yourself project involves making a pinhole in cardboard with the sun on one side and a piece of paper three feet away to project the image on the other side. For more information about these and other viewing options, as well as additional precautions, read the Prevent Blindness webpage on Solar Eclipse Eye Safety: Protect Your Eyes from the Sun!