The BU household extends a big thank you to Chris Halsall for the submission which seeks to educate the public about the partial solar eclipse Barbados will experience tomorrow. Take heed! – David, Barbados Underground
While a once-in-a-life-time event for the western northern hemisphere (totality across most of the United States of America (the next such event is not expected for something like 100 years), solar eclipses can actually be quite dangerous for those who don’t understand the risks to their eyes.
It is ***never*** safe to look directly at the sun with your eyes. Interestingly, this is even more true during a partial solar eclipse, which we here in Barbados will experience for approximately 2 hours and 22 minutes starting at 14:33 (2:33PM), with a maximum occlusion of 73% at 15:49, and ending at 16:56. Please see link reference #1 below.
The reason for this is since the sun will be partially occluded, our eyes’ pupils (the biological equivalent of a camera’s aperture) will close less. But, the intensity of the light from the part of the sun still visible will still be as intense. While it might not hurt as much to look, the eyes’ retina still risks being burnt out. Permanently!
I have heard people say that they plan to look at the eclipse with really dark sunglasses. Not safe! I heard from other person close to me that they looked at an eclipse through a CD. Even less safe; they were very lucky it was heavily overcast at the time.
In fact, even welding goggles are not safe to view an eclipse through unless the shade rating is greater than 11; very (very!) few are. Please see link reference #2 below.
There is only one way to view the eclipse safely with the human eye without properly rated filters: a “Pinhole Projection”. Please see link reference #3 below.
A wonderful opportunity to teach people about celestial mechanics (and, for that matter, optics). And in addition many people find solar eclipses quite spiritually moving.
I’m really looking forward to the event, and plan to go outside with my pinhole box to observe the crescent, and the very unusual dusk during the afternoon. I also deeply hope that no one damages their vision for the rest of their lives because of a silly mistake made during this event.