Solar eclipse: Is it OK to look at the sun during the eclipse through an X-ray film?

A solar eclipse is a phenomenon where the earth, the moon and the sun align together, and the moon’s shadow falls on the sun. Today, this celestial phenomenon is going to start from 9:15 AM. It will last till 3:04 PM. There are various myths associated with the solar eclipse like pregnant women should not hold sharp objects or their babies will be born with cleft palate, and lack of awareness around the phenomenon give rise to many superstitions and faulty practices. Also Read – Solar Eclipse 2020: Health myths to shun and safety measures for viewing the ring of fire

One such advice is not to look at the sun directly or to stay indoors to avoid the sunlight. Although most of us follow this, advice we don’t know why. During the solar eclipse, the gravitational waves cause a reduction in the ozone layer on the surface of the earth (the barrier, that protects us from the harmful UV rays) which allows UV rays and other cosmic radiation from the sun to reach the surface of the earth directly. UV rays are known to cause skin cancer and also damage the eyes by causing corneal damage, macular degeneration, and cataracts. Also Read – 5 simple tricks to maintain eye health as you age

X-RAY FILMS AREN’T SAFE

While people avoid looking at the sun directly, many view the eclipse through X-ray films. Yes, you can see the eclipse clearly but is it really safe for your eyes? Also Read – Holi 2020: How to protect your eyes during the festival of colours

Dr Nitin Deshpande, Glaucoma Consultant, says, “You should not look at the eclipse even through the X-ray films. It is not safe, and it can damage the retina and cause foveal burns.”

SAFE WAYS TO VIEW THE SOLAR ECLIPSE

If you want to see the solar eclipse, you must use a telescope with a solar filter. NASA says that the safest way to look at the eclipse is to project it on a wall or a flat surface. Make a pinhole or cut a circle from a white sheet of paper and simply hold it between the sun and your screen or the flat surface. You will be able to see the image of the sun’s crescent on the screen.

According to NASA, the safest way to look at the eclipse is to project it onto a screen or a flat surface like a wall. Make a pinhole in a white sheet of paper and simply hold it between the sun and your screen or the flat surface. You will be able to see the image of the sun’s crescent on the screen. Another recommendation is to use special filters that are specially designed to view eclipses. These filters are usually coated with a thin layer of aluminium, chromium or silver. Remember, do not look at the sun during an eclipse even through your binoculars.

Reference-

Kumar, S. S., & Rengaiyan, R. (2014). Vedic mythology of solar eclipse and its scientific validation. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 13(4), 716-724.

[Read More…]