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How to watch the solar eclipse safely

On Friday, March 20, a total eclipse of the sun will take place, and observers in Sussex may see a partial solar eclipse with sources suggesting up to 90% of the sun being blocked out.

This will be the deepest eclipse in the UK since 1999.

Though witnessing a solar eclipse is a very rare and amazing thing to see it is important to follow a few safety precautions when viewing it to avoid permanent damage to your eyesight.

  1. It is important to note using normal sunglasses provides virtually no protection and can trick your eyes to let in more light and may do more damage.
  2. Building a pinhole projector is the safest way to view the eclipse and can easily be made using a cardboard box.  There are instructions on how to make one here.
  3. Watching an eclipse directly is possible with the correct eclipse glasses. These special glasses are available for just a few pounds and block out  99.9% of the sun’s light. Check they bear the CE Kitemark to ensure they meet required safety standards.
  4. Welders goggles are recommended by NASA for viewing a solar eclipse and if you can get your hands on a pair of these rated 14 or higher you can look directly at the eclipse.

DO NOT USE:

  • Colour film
  • Any type of sunglasses
  • Medical X-ray film
  • Smoked glass
  • CD’s or a floppy disk

Do not take any chances, if you are unsure about the safety of any viewing device, speak to an expert first.

Consult this publication https://www.ras.org.uk/publications/other-publications/2577-how-to-observe-an-eclipse-safely by the Royal Astronomical Society for further information.

The partial phase of the eclipse begins at 08:25 GMT. Maximum eclipse is at 09:31 GMT when 85% of the Sun will be blocked. The eclipse ends at 10:41 GMT

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