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Everything you need to know about solar eclipse glasses

Confused about when and when not to wear your solar eclipse glasses? Don’t be.

What will you do when it goes dark? Enjoy totality or fret about your eyes? There’s a shocking account in Dr. Kate Russo’s book Being in the Shadow: Stories of the First Time Total Eclipse Experience about a guy who believes the ‘don’t look, don’t look, don’t look’ mantra from so-called experts in the run-up to a total solar eclipse, and who therefore panics during totality. When he should be experiencing pure bliss, he freaks out.

Don’t let that be you. Here’s what you need to know about eclipse glasses:

1 – Solar eclipse glasses must be worn for the partial phases of the eclipse. If you’re outside the Path of Totality, that’s the whole 2.5-hour experience: don’t ever take them off and look at the Sun.

2 – If you’re in the Path of Totality, remove your solar eclipse glasses only for Totality, when gets dark. It’s perfectly safe to look at totality. Put them back on when the first slither of Sun returns, just after the diamond ring (and make sure you do – some people get slightly mesmerized).

Here’s some advice from NASA and the American Astronomical Society.

And here’s where to buy solar eclipse glasses that are certified with an ISO 12312-2, CE or EU mark:

So why do authorities always advise against looking at totality when it’s no brighter than a Full Moon and will not damage your eyes? “Their motivation is not to encourage or inform people. Instead, their aim is to protect themselves from any potential litigation,” writes Russo. Expect to hear ignorant advice, from ‘there is no safe way of looking at the Sun’ to ‘always turn your back on totality’. That’s all incredibly deceitful.

Photo credit: Jamie Carter

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