Solar Eclipse – Do’s and Don’ts

The solar Eclipse on the morning of this Friday 20th March will be the first since 2003 and will be clearly visible across the whole of the UK. Between roughly 8.30am and 10.30 am you’ll experience some level of eclipse with the south coast seeing 84% of the sun hidden and the Faroe Islands  100% hidden.

As tempting as it may be to look directly at sun during the eclipse you should resist the temptation as it can lead to significant loss of vision as a result of damage to the Macula within the eye. There is no completely safe way of viewing the eclipse directly, and even taking a selfie would be dangerous if you ended up accidentally looking directly at the sun whilst aligning yourself and your phone. Even dark filters or sunglasses won’t provide you with sufficient protection. Specialist Eclipse Viewers are available from certain retailers, if these are CE marked then they have been approved as suitable for viewing the eclipse – but make sure that you put these on facing away from the eclipse and then turn to look at it.

If you want to observe the eclipse indirectly then you can buy, or even build, a sun spotter or a pinhole camera. These are quick and inexpensive to make and can give you a great image to view the eclipse – and if you want to get imaginative then you can even use everyday household items such as colanders and steamers to get multiple images. Have a look at this video by Dr Lucie Green from the Society for Popular Astronomy who explains a bit more about the eclipse.