Solar Eclipse Today: When Viewing, Protect Your Eyes

Published August 21, 2017

WASHINGTON – For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will occur across the entire continental United States today, August 21, 2017. Across Indian Country, there are differing opinions on whether or not tribal members should even view the historic event.

If you choose to observe the eclipse, do so with caution because the sun can severely injure your eyes.

NASA has released this caution:

Viewing Safety

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. In the 70-mile-wide swath of the country that will experience a total eclipse, it’s safe to look at the total eclipse with your naked eyes only during the brief period of totality, which will last about two minutes, depending on your location.

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 watch the screen, not the sun.

For more information on viewing safety, visit:

RELATED: Rare Solar Eclipse Offers Chance to Share Cherokee Heritage

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