For the first time since 1918, parts of the continental United States will be able to experience a total solar eclipse - when the Moon's shadow obscures the Sun. While the Stafford area will not experience a total eclipse, approximately 80% of the Sun's visible light will be diminished for approximately two and a half minutes. During that time, as tempting as it is to look up, the ultraviolet radiation from the remaining 20% of visible light is still enough to do severe damage to your eyes. Following these simple tips from NASA will help make the eclipse a safe, fun, and memorable experience.
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. Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page 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. -Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. -Always supervise children using solar filters. -Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun. -Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. -Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. -Note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics. -If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.