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Ensure your eclipse glasses are certified, astronomer says

By Tara Clow Mar 27, 2024 | 12:10 PM

The hunt is on for glasses for the April 8 total solar eclipse, but an amateur astronomer advises you to check the quality to ensure they’re safe.

“You can’t look directly at the sun because it’ll burn your retina. It’s even worse during an eclipse because the sky is dark. Yet there’s still this bright, bright sharp light just before totality. Since your pupils are dilated because it’s dark, it lets that much more light in and there’s that much more chance that you’re going to burn your eyes,” says Dan McLaughlin.

He recommends finding certified eclipse glasses because some were found on general merchandise websites that were copied and not of good quality.

“In the last large eclipse in North America in 2017, there were multiple lawsuits from eye damage from these general online merchandise sites. I recommend you check with your Optometrist or the Canadian Space Agency website. Eclipse Quebec also has some and I believe NASA does as well,” McLaughlin adds.

Image: submitted by Dan McLaughlin

He also made suggestions for children under the age of 10. He doesn’t believe the glasses are safe because kids tend to look up first before putting the glasses on and don’t have the appropriate understanding.

“You can create an eclipse box, where you have the sun to your back, and you’re looking through a tiny hole in the box to see the reflection or the projection of the Sun onto the inside of the box. That is much safer for young children,” McLaughlin explained.

“You take any decent-sized box and essentially you cut two holes on the same side. One of those holes, you can make a couple of inches by a couple of inches. You cover it with aluminium foil and tape and then punch a little hole through the aluminium foil. That becomes your camera and that projects the light onto the other end of the box. You create another hole next to that first one for your eye to look in. And then you will see that projection on the box.”

A total solar eclipse is when the path of the moon comes directly between the sun and the earth. This is a perfect alignment that will block out the sun.

Image: submitted by Dan McLaughlin

Image: submitted by Dan McLaughlin