How does eclipse make you blind?
Are you still sulking over the fact that you missed out on observing the total solar eclipse? Don’t worry; we’re here to tell you everything about eclipses, including why it can make you go blind if not viewed correctly. From how and when do they occur, to what’s so dangerous about looking at an eclipse directly, let’s dive right in!
What is a Solar Eclipse?
Before we get into how an eclipse can make one go blind, let’s start with what a solar eclipse is. A solar (not lunar) eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun. This results in blocking out some or all of the light from reaching Earth.
There are different types of solar eclipses: partial, annular, and total. In a partial eclipse, only part of the Sun appears blocked by the Moon. An annular eclipse occurs when there’s an outline or ring around the blocked-out sun due to our moon being further away from us than usual. And finally- drum rolls -a total solar eclipse occurs when…ready for this?…THE SUN IS COMPLETELY BLOCKED OUT BY THE MOON! Yes! It’s as simple as that!
A Total Solar Eclipse might sound like silly fun but did you know that numerous people claim experiencing life-changing feelings while witnessing it? Go figure…
Now comes our main question –
Why Can Looking Directly At The Sun During An Eclipse Cause Blindness?
We’ve heard repeated warnings since childhood not to look at a solar device directly during an eclip-, yawn- SLEEP much?-se because of its supposedly everlasting effect on your sight., But HOW does merely glancing towards something result in damaging your vision?
The human eye has got two lenses-the cornea & lens– responsible for focusing light onto our retina which contains photosensitive cells called rods and cones. Their job is to convert this light into electrical impulses that our brains interpret as images.
The Sun’s rays, especially during an eclipse, pack in enough energy to damage these receptors within seconds! With no one keen on adapting winky-face emojis because of a silly oversight right- Here’s why it happens:
- The retina has absolutely ZERO pain-sensitive neurons, meaning there won’t be any warning signs or sensations to indicate what is happening. 😱
- Also, the pupils auto-adjust their size due to varying brightness levels witnessed throughout the day but when we look at something very bright such as THE SUN in full view –the pupils are not quick enough occluding a large amount of UV light entering your eye.
- Plus, sun rays duing an eclip-, Yaawnnn…oh I’m awake,I’m awake..are strong enough to ablate (disintegrate!) proteins present within your eyes lenses!
So now you know people don’t want you going blind for the heck of it! Just avoid looking directly at sun-filled heavens.
Better yet; wear quirky solar glasses every day and tell everyone how cool (yet ironic) you look thanks to them!
How Can We Safely View It Then?
Ahem-drumbeats…Let us introduce various SAFE ways with which you can witness Solar Eclipse-
This method allows people without special equipment like telescopes or binoculars…to observe the Moon taking some bites out of our beloved Sun -which means they aren’t totally missing out on celestial jeopardy fun times after all-.
Here’s how it works:
-> Cut off two pieces cardboard/paper with square cutouts near each end facing each other .
-> Place piece A-the larger cardboard-over sunlight on ground
-> Notice Image formed by sun rays shining through the hole in Piece A onto Piece B
This method might seem quite nostalgic but it’s not always efficient and it can be difficult to get a sharp image during total solar eclipses as the sky gets super dark!
Oh, and you’ll need some background music for that so- did I hear anyone say -Twilight-I’m just kidding!
Solar filters are specially made viewing glasses or apparatuses. And are designed specifically to filter out harmful UV,-that is right enough of trying to sound like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory…solar filters block most light wavelengths except those within safe ranges which allow enjoyment without injury.
Students wearing cumbersome-yet-safe-equipment look so charming; compare them with their rebellious unfiltered classmates!
We know zero people who’d take chances with their eyesight than almost cool eyewear 😉
Eclipse Mania – Do They Happen Often?
Nope. Total solar eclipses aren’t very frequent on Earth-maybe once every eighteen months on average-but when they do happen, everyone goes bonkers about them (and rightfully so)! With human civilization flourishing across centuries, these displays have had various cultural interpretations despite showcasing the same celestial event every time-
->Some communities regarded an eclipse as “an devoured sun-god.”
->While other civilizations believed these were omens of devastation; hence, organized prayers ceremonies to prevent worsening situations.
->The Chinese decided this was earth’s way of telling us our actions were unacceptable while Indians felt that this should prompt married couples to temporarily fast in peace and quiet.
With such colorful-theories-and-hypotheses-involved-here-DON’T sleep yet there’s more…zzzzz oh come on-wake up… Wakey-Wakey!!
Thus though Solar Eclipses can be mind-altering if witnessed, make sure your sight remains alright after you do so! The sun’s rays are strong enough to harm our eyes and it would not take long for it to damage them.
Therefore- as lucrative as throwing caution to the wind in order to enjoy something with a higher risk may feel-it is always better opting for safer alternatives like solar projection or solar filters!
With this being said-do yourself-and-your-eyes–a nice favor next time we have an eclipse sighting.
This brings us towards the end of ‘How Does Eclipse Make You Blind’!? Who’d have known how stupid-yet-interesting -something hypothetical could turn out until one commences investigating?!