Is It Safe To Be Outside During Eclipse? Tips On How To Watch Solar Eclipse

Last Updated on January 21, 2021 by Bob De Generio

Yes, it is entirely safe to go out during the eclipse. However, those with vulnerable conditions should stay indoors. Going out during an eclipse is not dangerous but looking at the Sun directly is harmful to your eyes. 

Is It Safe To Be Outside During Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse occurs when the Earth comes in between Moon and the Sun, or when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. It happens only when the Sun, Moon, and the Earth are aligned very closely. Its appearance is like a traditional copper during Lunar Eclipse. During the eclipse, the Moon’s color is due to the red light refracted through Earth’s atmosphere from sunlight. Going out during Lunar Eclipse is entirely safe to view.

Total Lunar Eclipse

Total Lunar Eclipse is also called as blood moon because of its red color, but the blood moon term is not scientifically defined. Total Lunar eclipse is caused when the Earth blocks the sunlight ultimately to reach the Moon. A lunar eclipse is safe to view without any required eye protection.   

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse occurs when all the three planets, Earth, Moon, and the Sun, are in a line, and Moon is in between the other two. Moon caste shadow that blocks some of the Sun’s light to reach the surface of the Earth. It is the same as a cloud or tree blocks sunlight coming to you. It is the reflected light that is dangerous to the eyes when someone looks at the Sun directly.

Total Solar Eclipse

Total Solar Eclipses are rare. During total solar eclipses, the Moon’s shadow blocks all the visible and ultraviolet rays of the Sun. So it is safe to look at the Sun during the Solar eclipse, which looks like a black hole. It is the time when one can see Sun’s corona with naked eyes. Due to the reflected light, the surrounding atmosphere will not be completely dark.

It takes few minutes for the eclipse to last, and the Moon’s shadow will move aside, allowing Sun’s rays to be visible again. At this point, it is dangerous to look at the Sun. Even a narrow crescent of the Sun will damage the lens or retina of your eyes as it has enough ultraviolet rays.

Whether there is an eclipse or not, wearing sunglasses cannot protect your eyes from damage due to invisible ultraviolet rays. One effect of Solar Eclipses is that it marks a decrease in overall sunlight in the region.

Why Is The Time Duration of Lunar Eclipse Longer Than The Solar Eclipse?

In the Lunar and Solar Eclipses, the distance between the Moon and Earth is almost the same. During Solar Eclipse, the Moon’s shadow falls on the Earth’s surface and takes a little duration of time for the Moon’s shadow of small width to pass through a specific location on the Earth.

During Lunar Eclipse, the Earth’s shadow is bigger than the Moon. Hence, it takes a longer time duration for the Moon to appear out of the shadow.

Why People Avoid Stepping Out During Eclipse?

The moon blocks some sunlight during a solar eclipse, i.e., The Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth.  Sun is not bright and is shaded, so it gives less UV damage or sunburns. In contrast, during the lunar eclipse, the Moon moves into Earth’s shadow, passing behind it relative to the Sun. 

During the eclipse, it is possible to look at the sun directly. It does not cause much discomfort to the eyes. Sunrays carry harmful rays, like UV Rays and X-Rays, etc., which causes harm to your eyes. However, looking directly at sun can result in damage to the eyes without you notice it.

During partial Solar Eclipse, people often look at the Sun directly as there is less visible light. However, the invisible ultraviolet rays exist even if there is a partial eclipse. Hence, looking at it directly will damage your eyes. 

Stepping outside and looking at the eclipses is encouraged because eclipses are rare, and people enjoy the dramatic event.

What Are The Effects Of Solar Eclipse On Eyes?

Solar Eclipse can affect your eyes if you don’t use proper eye protection. It can cause retinal burns or eclipse blindness, also called solar retinopathy. This exposure to the sunlight during eclipse destroys the retina’s cells or causes damage. The damage can occur without pain and can be permanent or temporary. You can also get a burned spot on your retina permanently. It can also make you blind for life.

It takes a few hours to days to experience the damage that occurred to your eyes during the eclipse. You can also experience short-term pain or eye damage like “arc eyes” when you look at a welding flame.

Symptoms Of Looking At Sun Directly During Solar Eclipse

If you look at the sun directly during the eclipse without using eye protection, you can experience loss of:

1. Distorted vision

2. Vision or Solar Retinopathy

3. Altered Color Vision

In case you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek eye treatment or consult an eye care professional.

Is It Safe To Watch Solar Eclipse?

It is safe to view the eclipse without eye protection is during the total Solar Eclipse. It is because at this time moon covers the Sun completely. So, the harmful sunrays will not affect your eyes when you look at them directly. It is a very brief time when the Sun is in total eclipse, and if you are looking at it as the Moon moves away, you can experience solar burn on the retina and result in permanent damage to the eyes.

However, during a partial Solar Eclipse, it is not safe to look at it without using safety techniques or equipment.

Tips On How To Watch Solar Eclipse

Some of the safe ways to watch solar eclipse are the following:

1. Filters: You can use Mylar plastic sheets or aluminized filters as eclipse vision glass. Also, you can make it into a viewing box by cutting it. Avoid using if there is any damage or scratch to the sheet.

2. Glass: Welder’s number-14 glass is used to get adequate protection and reduce the effect of emitted harmful sun rays during an eclipse. Avoid using the glass if there is any damage or scratch.

3. Pinhole Projection: It is one of the most inexpensive and safest ways to watch a solar eclipse. You can avoid looking at the Sun directly by utilizing a projected image. You can make it yourself on cardboard paper by making a pinhole in it. 

Keep a paper in an open area with the Sun on the other side and a cardboard piece at least three feet away from it without obstruction. You will see the projected image of the Sun on the paper placed on the ground. Do not look at the Sun through the pinhole directly.

Featured Eclipses Worldwide In 2021

The year 2021 will have two solar and two lunar eclipses; the details are shown in the table below.

SL. No.EclipseType Of EclipseDate
1Lunar EclipseTotal EclipseMay 26, 2021
2Solar EclipseAnnular EclipseJune 10, 2021
3Lunar Eclipse Partial EclipseNovember 18-19, 2021
4Solar EclipseTotal EclipseDecember 4, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Is An Eclipse?

Ans: Eclipse is the partial or total obscuring of a celestial body by another celestial body or passing into a celestial body’s shadow. 

Q2. How Can You Differentiate Between Solar And Lunar Eclipse?

Ans: When the Moon passes between the sun and the earth is a Solar Eclipse and when the Earth passes between sun and Moon is the Lunar Eclipse.

 Q3. What Are The Three Types Of Solar Eclipses?

Ans: The three major types of Solar Eclipses are partial, total, and annular eclipse.

Q4. What Are The Expected Effects Of Going Out During A Solar Eclipse?

Ans: Fatigue and dizziness are the commonly known and scientifically proven effects of going out during a Solar Eclipse?

Q5. When Will Be The Last Solar Eclipse Of 2021?

Ans: The last Solar Eclipse of 2021 will appear on December 4, 2021. You can view it if you are located in Antarctica, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, South Africa, South America, and South Australia.  

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