How to protect your eyes with solar eclipse glasses during 2024 event as IL is in path of totality

Genuine solar eclipse glasses must meet ISO 12312-2 international safety standard

ByLarry Mowry and Blanca Rios WLS logo
Thursday, March 28, 2024
How to protect eyes, vision during solar eclipse
Chicago, Illinois will only experience a partial solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, but you'll still need a pair of solar glasses to look at the sun.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Looking directly into the sun is never recommended. But come eclipse day, that's all you'll want to do.

"Sunglasses absolutely are not enough," said Hunter Miller, public observing educator at the Adler Planetarium.

Instead, people will need a pair of solar viewers or solar glasses with filters made especially for viewing the sun.

"These kind of filters are blocking almost all of the light that is coming into them," Miller said.

RELATED: Illinois in path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse; what to expect in Chicago

Welders' masks are a good option, too.

"Welder's glass of a scale of 13 or 14 is safe for viewing the sun, as well," Miller said. "But you have to be careful that you are not using any lower grades of that welding material."

And that protection is essential.

"If you look at the sun with your naked eye for a moment, you won't go blind immediately. It's immediately going to start causing damage. And you can never (undo) it," Miller said.

The only exception is the path of totality. People can look at the sun with the naked eye only during those brief moments when the moon is completely blocking the sun. That does not include Chicago, which will only experience a partial solar eclipse, with about 94% coverage.

"It's really important if you have binoculars or telescopes that you understand how to safely use them for viewing the sun," Miller said. "If you look at it through a telescope you will go blind in that eye, essentially immediately."

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There are filters available to put on the front of your telescope or binoculars. Similarly, there are filters to help protect your DSLR-type cameras. A phone camera should be OK, but the best bet is to put the phone down and enjoy.

"Nature feels off; nature is doing something differently than you expect," Miller said. "It's so many things kind of hitting you at once; it only lasts a few minutes, so you're like trying to savor every moment of it."

RELATED: How do animals react during a total solar eclipse? Scientists plan to find out in April

The total solar eclipse is expected to hit southern Illinois at around 1:58 p.m. April 8. Chicago will experience the partial total solar eclipse at about 2:08 p.m.

Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker, and ought to comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.