Today’s the day West Coasters and Eastern Asia will be falling into a burning “ring of fire,” and not with Johnny Cash, but with the annular solar eclipse. The “ring of fire” is where the moon eclipses 85 percent of the sun, resulting in a bright burning ring. How cool is that? Even though it’s a sight for sore eyes, you need to remember to be careful while observing it. To guide you in the right direction, here are some helpful to tips for your viewing pleasure that will help you watch the eclipse in the safest of ways.
1. Protect Your Eyes
It is most important to remember to protect your eyes when watching the “ring of fire.” According to the American Optometric Association, looking at a solar eclipse can cause eye damage. Even though the sun and moon align, the sun’s rays are still visible. These rays can burn the retina, so protection is a must. The AOA recommends never viewing an eclipse with the naked eye, but by wearing shade number 14 welder’s glass or special solar observation glasses. If you don’t want to make such a purchase you can create your own viewing device including a pinhole projector or another projection device. Be aware that sunglasses, color film, black and white film, medical x-ray films with images, smoked glass, photographic neutral density filters and polarizing filters are unsafe as well.
2. Photograph Safely
Who doesn’t want to snap a picture of the annular eclipse? If you decide to do so, be sure to use a solar filter or you could cause an eye injury or blindness. When using a telescope or telephoto lens use a focal length of 400 millimeters or more. Like a digital camera, a video camera will also need a solar filter. Of course, focus, use high resolution, minimize vibrations and make sure you have a full battery so you capture the best photo possible.
The solar eclipse will last approximately four and a half minutes, Yahoo! News reports. The last eclipse was seen in 1994, so don’t miss this one. If you decide to take a snooze, catch a movie or watch TV while the “ring of fire” is occurring, then you’ll have to wait until Oct. 14, 2023 for the next one. Do you really want to wait that long?
Keep an eye out today at 5:24pm PST for the vivid ring in the sky.