Eclipse tips: Don't go blind
W ith all the scuttlebut on eclipse watching, the Post has gleaned from a variety
of sources, including a report produced by the NASA Center for AeroSpace Information,
the following recommendations for those who want to observe this rare event:
- The sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds
or minutes of a TOTAL solar eclipse.
- Partial or annular solar eclipses are NEVER safe to watch without taking special
- Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the
- Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or BLINDNESS!
- Unsafe filters include color film, some non-silver black and white film, smoked
glass, photogrphic neutral density filters and polarizing filters.
Solar filters designed to thread into eyepieces and often sold with inexpensive telescopes
are also dangerous.
- Do not experiment with other filters unless you are certain that they are safe.
- Damage to the eyes comes predominantly from invisible infrared wavelengths.
- The fact that the sun appears dark in a filter or that you feel no discomfort
does not guarantee that your eyes are safe.
- The safest way to view the eclipse is by using projection, in which a pinhole
or small opening on a piece of cardboard is used to cast the image of the sun on
a screen or sheet of white paper placed a half-meter or more beyond the opening.
Projected images of the sun may even be seen on the ground in the small openings
created by interlacing fingers.
- Binoculars can also be used to project a magnified image of the sun on a white
card, but one must avoid the temptation of using these instruments for direct viewing.
The eclipse passes over Angkor Wat for one minute and 48 seconds at 10:58am on