Solar eclipse safety awareness

August 7, 2017

On Monday, August 21, the United States will experience an extraordinary and rare event: a partial solar eclipse. The Boston area will have about 60% coverage starting at 1:27 p.m., maximum at 2:46 p.m., and ending at 3:59 p.m.

IT IS NEVER SAFE TO LOOK AT THE SUN DURING A PARTIAL ECLIPSE without proper protection. It is especially dangerous with any magnifying optics like binoculars or telescopes. If you've ever used a magnifying glass to burn a hole in a leaf, just think of what looking at the sun through one would do to your eye.

It is also not safe for your phone's camera, or any unprotected camera, to look at the partial eclipse; the intense light focused through the lens may damage or destroy the camera chip. Do not look through your camera's viewfinder.

The eclipse can be viewed safely using certified solar filters. Sunglasses are not sufficient for eye protection. You must use eyewear rated for direct solar observing; look for ISO 12312-2 certification.

'Neutral Density' (ND) filters for cameras are also not safe for direct solar viewing. Use a certified solar filters with at least 16.5 stops to protect your lens and camera.

There are many good web sites with further information on safe eclipse viewing:

Direct viewing (eye) safety:

Camera and optics safety:

The eclipse will be very noticeable and something to enjoy, but please take the proper precautions to protect yourself during the event.