Where in the Bay Area to watch the rare solar eclipse – The San Francisco Standard

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Sunglasses won’t cut it. Special eclipse glasses are crucial for safely observing the sun as the moon marches across the late morning and afternoon sky, covering more and more and then less and less of our star.

Although the Lick Observatory east of San Jose isn’t hosting an official event, it’s selling solar eclipse glasses at the gift shop, online, and in vending machines at the observatory. If you would like to purchase a pair, click here.

The only time it’s safe to view the sun without eye protection is during the “totality” of a total solar eclipse, or the brief moments when the moon completely blocks the light of the sun, according to NASA.

Directly staring at the sun can result in blindness or disrupted vision. During the 2017 total solar eclipse, a young woman was diagnosed with solar retinopathy, retinal damage from exposure to solar radiation, in both eyes after viewing the eclipse with what doctors believed were eclipse glasses not held to the safety standard.

There is no treatment for solar retinopathy. It can improve or worsen, but it is a permanent condition.

To view the eclipse, wear certified eclipse glasses or use a hand-held solar viewer. Separately, you can observe the sun with a telescope, binoculars, or camera that has a special solar filter on the front, which acts the same way eclipse glasses would.

“You need certified ISO 12312-2 compliant solar eclipse glasses. There are plenty of safe sellers online,” said Alex Lockwood, strategic content and integration lead for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters.

The lenses of solar eclipse glasses are made of black polymer, or resin infused with carbon particles, that blocks nearly all visible, infrared and ultraviolet light, according to The Planetary Society. Sunglasses don’t block infrared radiation.

For safe manufacturers and resellers of eclipse glasses and filters for optical devices, including cameras and smartphones, check out the list curated by the American Astronomical Society.

Put on your eclipse glasses before looking up and remember to turn away from the sun before you remove them again. Always keep an eye on any children wearing eclipse glasses to make sure they don’t remove them while looking at the sun.

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