MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Millions of people are expected to check out Monday’s solar eclipse.
They are being warned that watching any part of the eclipse without eye protection can do some serious damage.
So, how can you safely watch the eclipse?
“Even a few seconds could do some damage,” said Dr. Geoff Emerson, an ophthalmologist with Allina Health.
He says he has already had to remind patients regular sunglasses will not offer protection.
Looking at the eclipse through a camera, binoculars or a telescope without protection is also dangerous.
Here’s why: the front of the eye is a powerful lens that is designed to bring light to the retina, which is located in the back of the eye. The sun can burn part of the retina.
“When the sunlight is going directly through that lens onto the retina, it’s just too intense,” Emerson said. “Those cells are very delicate, and once they’re gone they never grow back.”
Finding the appropriate eyewear, though, could be a challenge. WCCO called many of the retailers that had sold the solar eclipse glasses.
Best Buy, Warby Parker, Lowe’s, Walmart and Radio City were all sold out as of Tuesday.
Glasses are still available online, but people should make sure they are NASA approved. Look for the international standard designation ISO 12312-2.
Those special lenses filter out a large fraction of the light because they have aluminum or chromium on their surface.
If a person can’t find the glasses, they could watch the phenomenon indirectly through a pinhole. It could be as simple as holding up two paper plates to the sun, where one of the plates has a small hole poked into it. The other plate would show the reflection of the sun.
Several places around the Twin Cities will be holding eclipse-watching programs starting on Monday, Aug. 21. They will have a limited number of solar eclipse glasses available for people participating in the programs.
Brooklyn Park Library
12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Special Guests: Bell Museum & Planetarium
11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Eden Prairie Library
11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Teen Tech Squad will be helping people make pinhole viewers
Maple Grove Library
11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
White Bear Lake Library
Mounds View Library
Science Museum of Minnesota
11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Tickets Required)