Regarding Looking at the Sun

3DglassesYou’d think the sky was a BB gun, aiming to put your eye out every time there’s an eclipse.

But Angela Des Jardins, director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium and leader of the Eclipse Ballooning Project says it’s not a particularly more dangerous time to look up into the sky.

Des Jardins, who is launching 100 high altitude balloons from across the eclipse’s path and sending live video images to NASA told reporters last month, says watching the eclipse in general is not dangerous.

“The thing that’s dangerous,” she said, ”is looking at the sun with no protection, and that’s true anytime, and it’s also true during an eclipse.

“There’s nothing special about the eclipse that makes it more or less dangerous,”  said Des Jardins, who is part of the team that will be analyzing the eclipse for a Discover special tonight. “It’s just doing something interesting, so you want to look at it where, normally, you are not possessed to look at the sun with no protection.”

“So there’s nothing inherently dangerous about it,” she repeated. But, she added, “when you do want to look at it, you have to have special protective solar glasses which are readily available or have some kind of method of projecting the eclipse on the ground, which you can do.”

Welding helmets, pinhole cameras, that kind of thing.

But she added something interesting: “If you are in the path of totality and the moon is completely blocking the sun, that is when you want to look, take your glasses off and look and enjoy the spectacle.”

The path of totality, only 70 miles wide, stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. Everybody else keep your goofy glasses on.


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