Why You Should NEVER Wear Sunglasses to a Solar Eclipse Viewing

Your sunglasses, although they DO look good, just aren’t strong enough for staring directly into the sun (we’ll get into the nitty gritty details later). 


THE Solar Eclipse is Just Around the Corner

Get ready for the most anticipated solar eclipse of the year! Otherwise known as the Total Solar Eclipse, this celestial phenomenon is only visible once every 18 months. This is definitely a must-see, bucket list event you won’t want to miss out on this Monday, April 8th, 2024! Best times and locations of where to view the eclipse are available on this NASA web page.

But before you plan your road trip and start packing your bags, let’s get into solar eclipse safety and how you can enjoy the eclipse without risking permanent and irreversible eye damage. 


Your Everyday Sunglasses Won’t Cut It

People often think that regular sunglasses would be perfectly fine for viewing the sun, right? It’s in the name itself! This is a complete misconception; sunglasses (including Fuse Sunglasses) are fantastic for protecting your eyes from daily UV exposure and normal outdoor activity, however they do NOT provide adequate strength to protect your eyes for direct viewing of the sun.

Permanent retinal damage can occur when someone looks at the sun for 100 seconds or even less (depending on the eyes). This is less than 2 minutes, so you can imagine staring at the eclipse for long periods of time without the proper eye protection can seriously do some eye damage and Solar Retinopathy. If you want to view the eclipse, you’ll need a pair of safe solar viewers that are thousands of times darker than normal sunglasses.


Certified Solar Viewers and How To Get Them

To safely look directly at the eclipse, specially designed solar filters are a must. These filters meet specific safety standards ( ISO 12312-2 ) to shield your eyes from direct and harmful sun rays. When you begin your search for solar viewers or eclipse glasses, be sure to double check and look that they have the ISO logo that shows they are certified! 

Getting your hands on a pair of solar eclipse shades is actually easier than you think: 

  1. Online Retailers:
    The most convenient way to get your hands on some solar viewers is ordering them online! Major online stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Target often stock eclipse glasses around eclipse time. The only things to keep in mind is to double check if the viewers are truly certified by looking for the ISO Certification, and also to order early enough so that your viewers arrive before April 8th. 

  2. Science Centers & Astronomy Stores:
    If you have kids, this will be a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; fun, educational family time and obtaining solar viewers!  These places specialize in astronomical equipment and will be likely to carry eclipse glasses. 

  3. Observatories and Planetariums:
    Similar to Science Centers, these places are great for family friendly fun. In addition, many planetariums and observatories host eclipse viewing events, so that could be another option for you to consider when planning your solar eclipse viewing trip. 

  4. Telescope stores:
    These do exist! Although not the most popular option, if you have a telescope store near you, you’ll have a good chance of not only to find solar viewers but also some additional advice for best viewing practices for the solar eclipse from a telescope expert. 


Bonus Solar Eclipse Safety Tips for the Best Viewing Experience

Even if you already triple checked that your solar viewers are ISO certified, always inspect them thoroughly before use. If there are any scratches on the filters or any other damage, then the solar viewers are no longer safe for use. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, be sure to supervise children closely when they're using solar viewers. 

Just because you’re now geared up with solar viewers doesn’t mean you can use the filter for everything. You’ll want to take pictures of this rare event, and please do so carefully; never look at the sun through a camera, phone camera, telescope, or binoculars, even with a solar filter attached. These devices can concentrate the sun's rays and damage the filter. We do recommend taking pictures with a proper solar filter, but be sure not to reuse them after use for this reason.

Finally, don’t forget sun protection outside of your eyes! Especially if you plan on making a day out of your trip, you’ll be outside in the sun for hours. Long sleeve shirts, hats, and reapplying a minimum of at least 30 SPF sunscreen every two hours will be your best bet for the ultimate sun protection. We may not have solar eclipse viewers, but we do have some awesome weatherproof hats that will complete any solar eclipse viewing outfit. 


Can’t Make the Trip? Avoid Solar Eclipse FOMO

Can't find certified eclipse glasses or is your closest viewing location too far away? Fear not, there are other ways to enjoy this eclipse! 

If you couldn’t find the proper eyewear, take to facebook and instagram to seek out any local organizations hosting eclipse viewing events nearby. Not only will it be a great way to meet other eclipse enthusiasts, but more likely than not these organizations will be equipped with professional telescopes with properly safe solar filters and solar viewers. Also, what’s not better than to support your local astronomy experts?

The eclipse is only viewable at certain locations, and it may be a bit too far a trip for you to make. No worries, you have the option to watch a live stream of the eclipse happening in real time online! Live Streams will be available for you to watch on youtube, so be sure to tune in. More information about times are available on this official Nasa web page

The upcoming eclipse will be a breathtaking natural phenomenon, but always prioritize your safety first. By following these tips, you can enjoy the cosmic wonder AND your eyes will thank you for taking care of them. Stay safe, and have a happy solar eclipse viewing!

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