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Eclipse advice: Don't look...

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

    precautions.

  • Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the

    naked eye.

  • 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

Oct 24.

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