News & Events

Preparing for the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

Posted on

Residents of the Central Valley will have the unique opportunity to experience a partial solar eclipse on Monday, August 21! The next solar eclipse visible in Fresno, California won’t be until October 14, 2023, which explains the excitement. However, it’s important to protect your eyes while viewing the eclipse.

We were always told as children not to stare are the sun for too long, and for good reason; if you stare at the sun too long, it can cause serious damage to your eyesight. Even though a majority of the sun will be covered by the moon during the eclipse, a sliver of the sun will be exposed to our eyes, which can still be damaging. Regular sunglasses do not offer enough protection to your eyes to look directly at the sun, so do NOT attempt to view the eclipse just using your daily pair.

The safest way to view the solar eclipse is by using a pinhole projection. Simply punch a hole in an index card using a sharp pin or thumbtack. With the sun to your back, hold the card out in front of you, letting the sunlight pass through the hole. This will project an image of the sun onto a nearby surface.Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 10.26.24 AM

Another way to see the solar eclipse is to grab a pair of specially-made glasses that filter incoming light. These glasses will help you see the eclipse without the light of the sun making it difficult for you to watch. However, there are a few issues you may run into with these glasses.

The glasses can be easily misused. Not knowing when to put them on or for how long they should be worn could defeat their purpose of protecting your eyes.

Because of the great demand for these glasses, some vendors are beginning to sell fake ones, which won’t do anything to keep your eyes from being exposed to the sun.

The American Astronomical Society has announced that “it is no longer sufficient to look for the logo of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO),” which is a special label marking glasses that are certified to block out the majority of light and protect your eyes. Unfortunately, not all glasses on the market that have this symbol are verified as actual solar eclipse glasses, so be mindful! Remember that the best recommendation is to use the pinhole projection method, because it is least likely to damage your eyesight.