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Protective Glasses a Must for Eclipse Viewing

Idahoans will have one of the best views of the solar eclipse next Monday, but they should remember to protect their eyes for the event. (NASA)
Idahoans will have one of the best views of the solar eclipse next Monday, but they should remember to protect their eyes for the event. (NASA)
August 15, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – Next Monday, the moon will cast a 70-mile-wide shadow on Idaho as it slips between Earth and the sun. It's causing a lot of excitement, as the first total eclipse over the U.S. in 99 years.

While there's no health risk to just being outdoors during a total eclipse, there is danger from looking directly at the sun with the naked eye.

Dr. Don Bucklin, regional medical director for U.S. Healthworks, says it's not only uncomfortable, it can cause damage to the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye.

"The sun is 400,000 times brighter than the moon, so even just a little rim of sunshine peeking out from behind that moon is enough to really, seriously damage your eyes," he explains.

Idaho is one of 14 states in the path of totality. The eclipse will reach Idaho's border with Oregon around 10 A.M. and leave the state around 1 P.M.

If you're stuck inside, NASA will show the eclipse in real time on its website, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., plans to be online live from the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory, answering questions about eclipses.

Bucklin stresses the importance of using the eclipse safety glasses. He explains the eyes work like a magnifying glass - and you could be blinded in about a minute.

"If you're in that total eclipse, you can look at the sun when it's totally hidden by the moon," he says. "If you're not in that area, well then, looking at the sun will damage your eyes. We're talking about ultraviolet radiation."

The last total solar eclipse visible across the U.S. was in 1918. For more information on how to safely view it, visit NASA's eclipse safety page.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID