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NASA offers safety tips for viewing August solar eclipse

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued Friday a set of recommendations for safely viewing the solar eclipse set to occur in August.

NASA recommends that people who plan to view the eclipse should check the safety authenticity of viewing glasses to ensure they meet basic proper safety viewing standards.

Eclipse viewing glasses and kits with glasses and handheld solar viewers should meet all the following criteria:

·      Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard

·      Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product

·      Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses

·      Not use homemade filters

·      Ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers

“While NASA isn’t trying to be the eclipse safety glasses ‘police,’ it’s our duty to inform the public about safe ways to view what should be a spectacular sky show for the entire continental United States,” said Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s important that individuals take the responsibility to check they have the proper solar eclipse viewing glasses. With the eclipse a month away today, it’s prudent to practice ahead of time.”

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially-eclipsed Sun is with a pinhole projector. With this method, sunlight streams through a small hole – such as a pencil hole in a piece of paper, or even the space between your fingers – onto a makeshift screen, such as a piece of paper or the ground. It’s important to only watch the screen, not the Sun. Never look at the Sun through the pinhole — it is not safe.

The eclipse will be visible on August 21, 2017, as a partial eclipse to all 50 states and a total solar eclipse in parts of 14 states in the U.S. [see map here]

If you plan to view the eclipse directly, here are the ISO/CE certified eclipse glasses and solar viewing kits that meet NASA’s recommendations.

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About Duncan Idaho

Duncan is the science and technology editor for CDN. Any opinions expressed in his articles are his own and not necessarily shared by CDN, its staff, officers, or their pets.

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