Viewing the solar eclipse safely

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Tomorrow morning darkness will creep across northern European skies as a total eclipse takes place from 9am to 11am, while from Spain we’ll be able to see a still dramatic partial eclipse.

It’s a not-to-be-missed event, but how best to observe this rare, astronomical phenomenon when we should absolutely not stare directly at the sun? Specsavers Opticas have given us the following advice:

“At Specsavers we agree with the RNIB, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the College of Optometrists and the Association of Optometrists that direct viewing of the sun during an eclipse is hazardous. We suggest using indirect ways of viewing the eclipse.

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“If you have a telescope or binoculars, you can focus an image of the sun onto a white screen, or hold white card behind the eye piece, adjusting the focus so you can see the image on the card. An inexpensive alternative is to create a pinhole camera using a piece of card with a pinhole in it to focus the image of the sun onto a white screen or piece of white card. However, please always take care to shield the eyes from the sun.

“If you want to make a pinhole camera, all you need is two pieces of plain card. Make a small hole (not more than one millimetre wide) into one of the pieces of card. Stand with your back to the sun arranging the cards so that the one with the hole is close to your shoulder, with the other card one metre away. This will cast an upside down image of the sun onto the piece of paper and you can safely watch the eclipse.

“It is very important to note that sunglasses, smoked glass, sun capes, solar filters and visors are not safe ways to view the eclipse, so please take care of your eyes and only view it indirectly.”

More information can be found on www.eyecare-trust.org.uk, if you have any concerns you can contact your nearest Specsavers Opticas to consult the opticians www.specsavers.es

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