On Monday, 21st August all of North America will be lucky enough to witness a solar eclipse. The last time the U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979. It will stretch along a land of about 70 miles; this path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk. The big cosmic event will be unforgettable for many.
If you are one of the many waiting to experience such an event, you must first ensure that you have all your gear ready. By gear, I mean eyewear! It is never safe to look directly at the sun's rays – even if the sun is partly obscured. 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 hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight. You can refer to the American Astronomical Society for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.
The only time to experience the solar eclipse without special protection glasses is during totality. Totality refers to the brief total phase of a solar eclipse, when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face. It is important to replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear.
Please ensure you check the path of totality if you wish to view the total solar eclipse
While it may be tempting to watch the eclipse with bare eyes, it is really important that you do not ignore the warnings. Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy. The retina is home to the light-sensing cells that make vision possible. When they're over-stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage can be temporary or permanent and occurs with no pain. It can take a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realize the damage that has occurred. Other than solar retinopathy, you may also experience altered colour vision or a distorted vision.
If you experience any symptoms after watching a solar eclipse, seek medical advice immediately.
Watching a solar eclipse is a phenomenal experience therefore, do not let the above scare you! As long as you are wearing the correct eye wear and follow all instructions given by the officials, it should be a great experience!
https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/; https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html; http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/path_through_the_US.htm; https://www.preventblindness.org/solar-eclipse-and-your-eyes; https://www.livescience.com/20433-solar-eclipse-blind.html