A solar eclipse is one of the most exciting celestial events we can experience, but it is vitally important that we do so safely. Even when only 1 percent of the sun is visible, it is still 10,000 times brighter than the full moon. In fact, a partial eclipse can be more dangerous than full sunlight because you will not instinctually look away, shield your eyes, or squint, and looking at the sun without proper protection can result in eye damage.
The best way to safely view a solar eclipse is to use a pair of eclipse viewing glasses. These glasses are specially filtered to block most of the sun's light, but still allow enough through to see the eclipse as it is taking place. Eclipse glasses should only be purchased through approved vendors. Online vendors include:
- Rainbow Symphony
- American Paper Optics
- Thousand Oaks Optical
Local retailers including Lowe's, Wal-Mart, and Ingles are also selling approved glasses. Please be sure you are purchasing glasses that are from an approved vendor. And if you attend the Asheville Solar Eclipse Festival, there will be free eclipse glasses available for everyone while supplies last.
Be wary of eclipse galsses that are not certified, especially on Amazon. Read more about approved vendors and things to look out for when purchasing glasses in this story -- NASA: Not all solar eclipse viewing glasses are safe.
Note that if you are in the path of totality and will be seeing the total eclipse, you should look at the total eclispe phase with the naked eye as it is completely safe to do so. Doing so will allow you to see stars, planets, and most importantly, the sun's corona, which is what makes a total solar eclipse so spectacular. However, be sure to wear your eclipse glasses during the partial phases leading up to totality and the moment when the total eclipse phase is complete.