SAFE WAY TO VIEW SOLAR ECLIPSE OR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 10, 1998
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Glenn A. Walsh, Telephone: 412-561-7876 or
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >

NEVER look through a telescope or binoculars, or any optical aid or device that magnifies an image (or reflection of any such magnified image in any type of mirror or other reflecting object or device), at the Sun, a Solar Eclipse (or Eclipse of the Sun), or the Transit of the Planet Mercury or the Planet Venus across the front of the Sun; this would cause PERMANENT BLINDNESS INSTANTLY !

The only exception to this rule would be if viewing the Solar Eclipse through a trained astronomer's telescope. But, even in this case, be sure that the professional solar eclipse filter specifically designed for a telescope, used for safely viewing the solar eclipse, is placed over the large telescope lens or telescope mirror(called an "entry filter"), NOT placed over the small eyepiece lens you would look through(called an "exit filter") . In the recent past, some cheap telescopes were sold with exit filters for solar observing; this was very unfortunate, as these exit filters are prone to damage by the heat from the Sun.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER look through a telescope or binoculars at the Sun, a Solar Eclipse (or Eclipse of the Sun), or the Transit of the Planet Mercury or the Planet Venus across the front of the Sun, if the Sun filter is placed over the small eyepiece lens you would look through. The heat from the Sun can damage this filter, allowing hazardous sunlight to reach your eye, while looking through the telescope.

NEVER look at the Sun or a Solar Eclipse (or Eclipse of the Sun) with your unaided eye; this could cause MAJOR EYE DAMAGE and POSSIBLE BLINDNESS ! Blindness can occur rapidly, without any pain, since there are no nerves in the retina of the eyes.

NO filtering device, sunglasses, photographic film or negatives, or darkened or "smoked" glass or plastic, or any type of mirror or reflecting device, is safe for looking at the Sun or a Solar Eclipse, unless it is SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR SOLAR ECLIPSE OBSERVING and UNDAMAGED(i.e. includes no pinholes or holes of any size) ! If you have a pair of professionally labeled "solar eclipse glasses," before each and every use, check these glasses by looking at a lighted light bulb, to be sure there are absolutely no tiny holes in the glasses. If tiny holes are found these glasses are not safe to be used, and you should cut-up the glasses and discard them.

To safely view a Solar Eclipse, prepare a box as shown, with a pinhole (perhaps in aluminum foil covering a larger hole in the box) at one end and a white sheet of paper at the other end, inside. Standing, with your back to the Sun and your head inside the box, allow the Sun's light to shine through the pinhole and observe a small image of the Solar Eclipse on the white sheet of paper. NEVER look through the pinhole at the Sun or a Solar Eclipse; this could cause MAJOR EYE DAMAGE and POSSIBLE BLINDNESS !

If you cannot find a box, you can also use two pieces of cardboard. Place a pinhole in one piece of cardboard. Standing with your back to the Sun, allow the light from the eclipse to shine through the pinhole and project onto the second piece of cardboard, where you will see a small image of the solar eclipse. Again, NEVER look through the pinhole at the Sun or a Solar Eclipse; this could cause MAJOR EYE DAMAGE and POSSIBLE BLINDNESS !

Another safe way to view a Solar Eclipse/Eclipse of the Sun would be to check with a local planetarium, astronomical observatory, science center or museum, the Astronomy or Physics Department at a local college or university, amateur astronomers' club, or local library. Sometimes, one or more of these organizations will sponsor an observing session of a Solar Eclipse/Eclipse of the Sun, utilizing professional equipment operated by trained astronomers.

If you are in a sparsely populated area, or no group in your area sponsors a public observing event for such a special astronomical occurrence, you can sometimes find one or more web-casts on the Internet of the special astronomical event.

For further questions about safely viewing a Solar Eclipse/Eclipse of the Sun, send an electronic mail message to

< eclipse@planetarium.cc >.

If you are in the Pittsburgh area, you can also telephone: 412-561-7876; regular long-distance charges apply, for telephone calls made from outside of the Pittsburgh area. Leave your question on the telephone answering machine.

Every effort will be made to return your electronic mail message or telephone call, prior to the solar eclipse.

SOLAR PINHOLE VIEWING BOX GRAPHIC
Graphic by Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club.
(Graphic originally drawn for Buhl Planetarium visitors, in anticipation of the Solar Eclipse of 1991 July 11.)

Are “hand-made” or “home-made” solar filters or eclipse-viewing glasses safe to use?

How do you find safe eclipse-viewing glasses?

News Release - Solar Eclipse of 2002 June 10

News Release - Solar Eclipse of 2001 December 14

News Release - Solar Eclipse of 1998 February 26

About the Author: Glenn A. Walsh

Friends of the Zeiss
P.O. Box 1041
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Telephone: 412-561-7876
Electronic Mail: < friendsofthezeiss@planetarium.cc >
Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >



Other Internet Web Sites of Interest

History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh -
Including the Oldest Operable, Major Planetarium Projector in the World !

History of The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago -
America's First Major Planetarium !

History of Astronomer, Educator, and Optician John A. Brashear

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

History of Industrialist, Art Patron, and Philanthropist Henry Clay Frick

The Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh -
Historic Cable Car Railway Serving Commuters and Tourists since 1877 !

Other History Links

Quick-Reference Pages(Valuable Library References)


Disclaimer Statement: This Internet Web Site is not affiliated with the Andrew Carnegie Free Library,
Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves Civil War Reenactment Group, Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory,
The Carnegie Science Center, The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute, or The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

This Internet, World Wide Web Site sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss; administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
Unless otherwise indicated, all pages in this web site are Copyright 1998-2012, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
The author thanks The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Three Rivers Free-Net for use of their digital scanner and
other computer equipment, and other assistance provided in the production of this web site.
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Contact Web Site Administrator: solflyer2@planetarium.cc

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