You likely are aware that Wyoming residents (and visitors) will be treated
to a total solar eclipse on August 21—for those who don’t
know, the last total solar eclipse in Wyoming occurred in 1918. During
a total solar eclipse, the moon moves in front of the sun, covering it
completely for a few minutes and darkening the sky. Something that is
sure to be quite a sight.
But, did you know that viewing a total solar eclipse improperly can cause
some serious damage to your eyes? Check out some tips below to view it safely.
According to the
NASA Total Eclipse safety page the only safe way to look directly at the eclipsed sun is through special-purpose
solar filters, such as eclipse glasses, or hand-held solar viewers. Viewing
the eclipse without eclipse glasses causes serious eye injury. For those
who don’t know, Gillette will be at 96.7% totality, so you must
always use a filter when viewing the sun directly.
The sites goes on to say that homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses,
even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun as they transmit
thousands of times too much sunlight. Do not look directly at the sun
unless you have eclipse glasses or viewers that are compliant with the
ISO 12312-2 safety standard. Eclipse glasses are available through the
Campbell County Chamber of Commerce at 307.682.3673 for $3 each.
Wyoming Department of Health also warns viewers to no look at the eclipsed sun through an unfiltered
camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. You should also
not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any
other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar
viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and
enter your eye(s), which can also cause serious injury.
Other options for safe viewing include pinhole projectors—you can
find information about this kind of project here on the American Astronomical
Pinhole & Optical page.
If you don’t head these warnings, the
American Optometric Association’s wants you to know that if your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of
direct sunlight (or ultraviolet radiation) during the eclipse, you could
experience photokeratitis, which is a sunburn of the eye. Looking at the
sun directly for only a short period of time can burn the retina. Symptoms
include red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes,
extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. If you have these
symptoms after viewing the eclipse, it is best for you to schedule a visit
with an eye doctor.
More information about the total solar eclipse is available at
Campbell County Convention & Visitors Bureau is hosting an
Energy Capital Eclipse Festival August 18-21. The event features tours of
Contura Energy's Eagle Butte Coal Mine and the
Durham Buffalo Ranch, Campbell County School District
Gillette Main Street’s Eclipse Festival (August 19), a concert out at
CAM-PLEX featuring Josh Dorr,
Basin Electric Power Cooperative Dry Fork Station Tours and more! Details are available at
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