Annular Eclipse and Staring at the Sun

Updated on May 21, 2012
W.H. asks from Auburn, CA
8 answers

the teen next door is planning on "glancing at the sun for a few seconds every five minutes or so" to watch the eclipse! I told him how to make a pinhole camera, but he says that's not actually watching IT, you only see the SHADOW. is he going to damage his eyesight? have you ever stared at the sun and did it mess up your vision? when I google the subject half the sites say it will damage your eyes and the other half is not if you glance for a few seconds! input?

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So What Happened?

well, it's unanimous, the neighbors, my son, and unfortunately myself, are all stupid stupid stupid. not a one of us went blind, but then not a one of us could look at the sun for more than a hot second (literally) we mostly used the pinhole camera (or as my son said, "that's not a camera,it's a paper plate with a hole in it!" and passed a welders mask. but we just couldnt resist trying to squint at the sun at least once. my husband has put himself in charge of getting "some proper eclipse glasses before June 5th because we cant afford to feed seeing-eye dogs"....

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answers from Charlotte on

You are right and he is wrong. Give him this link and tell him to read it.

Hope he'll listen!


3 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

It will damage his eyes but it goes on this theory I have that the truly stupid don't seem to get hurt by that which should hurt him so he will be fine.

I double dog dare you to tell him I have heard it only damages the eyes of smart people. :p

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

LIving in far northern Ca we are in prime viewing location for todays eclipse. They have announced over and over for weeks to get the safety glasses to watch the event. It is going to be a more intense eclipse than usual and will produce the "ring of fire" and could blind you from the light it will have. Tell him to grow up and care about his sight and go find some of the little cardboard glasses. TV stations are giving them away. I bought 4 pair at the local planaterium and plan to make my grand daughter wear them or stay inside. Not worth the damage it can cause. Does he ever want to drive? go to movies? see a concert, or look at a girl friend? He is risking all of that just being stupid. My guess is he will glance, like a million others will do, but wont be able to see much and will be tempted to look for longer and then be in trouble.
It wont just damage your eyes and make you need glasses.. It will burn your eyes and make you blind.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Is it really worth permanent damage to try this? I've always heard NOT to look directly at the sun under any circumstances. Not sure I'd risk believing sources that say that it's okay. Just not worth the risk or permanent damage.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

i know we are not suppose to but i took a quick look today and i'm fine, i'm already blind as a bat so??? what's a little vision lost? pretty neat today though!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I'm a terrible person... having watched several eclipses from start to finish... with nothing more serious than sunglasses, and other times just through my eyelashes.

As a kid, and occasionally as a bored adult, I've stared at the sun in order to 'draw pictures' on my retinas. Lasts for 5-10 seconds.

Is it damaging my eyes? Maybe. But not in any kind of recordable fashion. I have extremely healthy eyes/vision (and I've been seeing an opthamologist since I was 8... due to being from a medical family... nothing less than a doctor and full out 2 hour exam every year would do). I AM near sighted, but that's because my eyeball is shaped wrong. My macula, retina, cones, rods, vitrious humor, muscles, etc. are all in great shape.

;) Or maybe, as Jo says, it only damages the eyes of smart people!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It may be too late for this answer but for this under NO circumstance are they to glance at the sun. It damages the retina, it is important to stress this to young people as they will not experience any immediate pain by doing so but the damage can be progressive though, so blindness or partial can kick in up to two hours later. They really stressed this. I had to tell my son because he wanted to use his telescope!


answers from Redding on

I've watched many a time throughout the years. Carelessly and with the pin hole thingy.
I'm 54 and wear glasses now, not sure if watching solar eclipses improperly is the reason I'm wearing reading glasses now but I dont really give a damn at this juncture.
If you have kids, do the pin hole cardboard thing, it is fantastic, let the other moms worry about their own kids.

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