On Monday, August 21, a solar eclipse is occurring that can be seen from most of Canada. This is a rare event that everyone should take part in—just ensure that you’re viewing the eclipse safely and not putting your vision or eyes in jeopardy.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
When the moon passes between the earth and the sun, all the light from the sun is blocked and, essentially, day becomes night for everyone in the umbral shadow of the moon. Your location will determine the totality of the eclipse. For example, those living in Toronto can expect about 70% of the light to be blocked, while those in Vancouver will have about 85% of the sun covered.
How Does a Solar Eclipse Damage Vision?
If the moon blocks the light from the sun, many people wonder why staring at a solar eclipse can damage (or blind) your vision. The main concern when it comes to a solar eclipse is solar retinopathy. This can severely damage your eyes and is caused when bright light from the sun floods the retina. While this can occur whenever the sun is out, the sun is partially covered during a solar eclipse and people mistakenly believe they can stare directly at it—but it’s still causing damage.
The only time to safely view the Solar Eclipse without a filter is during totality—where the moon is completely covering the sun. However, the path of totality is south of Canada, meaning you’ll need solar filters to safely view the eclipse anywhere here.
How Can You Safely View the Eclipse?
This solar eclipse is thought to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Many people will want to take advantage of the fact that they can see it from Canada, but make sure you’re viewing it in a safe manner.
Use solar glasses or filters to view the eclipse safely. Make sure you’re buying IOS (International Organization for Standardization) rated or CE Certified eclipse glasses. Be wary of fake solar eclipse glasses and buy them from a reputable retailer like a museum, science centre or astronomy group.
Take advantage of the rare opportunity to view the solar eclipse and be safe!
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