SCIENCE
07/25/2017 04:25 am ET

How To Watch The Eclipse Without Burning Holes In Your Eyeballs

Protect your retina from painful burns.

The 2017 solar eclipse soon be here, and NASA has issued some basics to help make sure you can see the big event without damaging your eyes. 

The Aug. 21 eclipse will travel across 14 states along a path 70 miles wide, giving millions a chance to view what for many may be a once-in-a-lifetime event. 

But NASA warns that it’s unsafe to watch the eclipse without proper protection ― and sunglasses won’t protect you from retinal burns.

The agency said to use special eclipse viewing glasses with the designated ISO 12312-2 international standard along with the manufacturer’s name and address on the product to ensure it’s the real deal. 

NASA advised not to use lenses more than 3 years old, or ones that have been scratched or wrinkled. 

The viewing glasses are widely available for purchase, and nearly 5,000 libraries are giving them away. Check with yours to see if they’re participating. 

The space agency said a welder’s hood with a shade number 14 filter or darker would also be effective, but it warned that not all hoods meet that standard so check first.

Another option is a pinhole projector. NASA has a link to one you can MacGyver with a cereal box, a piece of white paper and some tin foil.

NASA has more tips on its special Eclipse 2017 website as well as a PDF Eclipse Guide.

And if you’re not in the eclipse zone, NASA has you covered there as well: The agency will stream the event online here, using cameras around the nation, along with some in high-altitude aircraft and aboard the International Space Station. 

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