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Solar Eclipse Safety Tips for Educators, Families

Solar Eclipse Safety Tips for Educators, Families

San Diego County is among many areas in the U.S. and Mexico that will experience a solar eclipse on April 8 as the moon passes between Earth and the sun.

It’s expected to begin around 10 a.m. and will peak about an hour later at 11:11 a.m., before ending at 12:23 p.m.

While San Diego County is not in the path of the total eclipse, the region is expected to see a partial eclipse, making eye safety a priority.

It is always dangerous to view any part of the sun’s surface directly without proper filters, any day of the year, and observing an eclipse without proper eye protection can instantly cause severe eye injury. Here are some tips to watch the eclipse with your children from pediatricians with 

  • Looking directly at the sun without proper eye safety equipment can cause serious eye injury.
  • It is NOT safe to use sunglasses (even very dark ones with UV protection), polarizing filters, or any other filters that are not specifically designed for viewing a solar eclipse. These do not adequately block dangerous UV rays from the sun.
  • It is NOT safe to use a telescope, binoculars, or a camera viewfinder without a solar filter, even if you are wearing eclipse glasses. The focused rays of sunlight can damage the filter and then damage your eyes. 
  • A partially darkened sun is not less harmful.
  • Always supervise children using solar viewers.


How to View the Eclipse Safely

Here are some important safety guidelines to follow during a total solar eclipse from NASA, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and the American Astronomical Association

  • View the sun through eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer during the partial eclipse phases before and after totality. Regular sunglasss are not safe to use.
  • View the shape of the eclipse through a pin hole viewer (which can be as simple as small hole in an index card and let the sun shine through it onto a sheet of paper).
  • Watch the NASA livestream or register to view the NOVA livestream.

How to Make a Viewer


Resources for Educators

The National Science Teaching Association has teaching resources for educators on eclipses.

Visit Solar Eclipse Mini Lessons MyNasaData for lesson plans and interactivities, including one about how to safely observe a solar eclipse

The American Astronomical Society in partnership with NASA has eclipse viewing safety flyers in different languages available to download. 


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