Skygazers have been warned that seeing the solar eclipse poses a “severe risk.”
Despite being a breathtaking spectacle, solar eclipses can cause permanent eye damage to people who look at them.
On Thursday, when the sun is obscured by a New Moon, the first partial solar eclipse in over six years will be visible. The eclipse will last a few of hours, and anyone with solar eclipse glasses, or even a kitchen colander, will be able to see it.
It will be the first solar eclipse seen since 2015, peaking shortly after 11 a.m. BST.
Those who choose to witness the spectacle, however, have been issued a strong caution.
Looking directly at a solar eclipse, according to Dr. Chien Wong, a consultant retinal surgeon at OCL Vision, might cause irreversible eye damage.
“Solar eclipses may be a beautiful spectacle,” Dr. Wong remarked. However, if you’re not careful, staring at them might do major damage to your eyes.
“Looking directly at the sun, even for a few minute, can cause irreversible damage to your eyes, especially your fine central vision. The sun’s beams, which are very intense even during an eclipse, might harm the sensitive retina cells.
“This kind of injury has no remedy, and no spectacle is worth permanently ruining your vision.”
The expert also offered some advice for individuals who want to view the eclipse safely without risking their vision.
“Wearing sunglasses will only provide modest protection if you look straight at the sun,” Dr. Wong warned. Making a pinhole camera out of cardboard, for example, is the safest way to see an eclipse.
“Special solar eclipse glasses and filters can be employed, but they should be used with caution because the sun can still break through this technology.
“While nothing beats seeing the cosmic splendor of the sky with your own eyes, it’s much safer to consider watching a solar eclipse on your television.”
If the skies are clear, the eclipse will begin 45 degrees above the southeastern horizon (halfway in the sky) and end at 59 degrees in the south, making it visible from practically anywhere.
If you don’t have any special viewing equipment, a kitchen colander can be used to project the shadows onto a floor or wall, resulting in a plethora of tiny crescent sun shadows at the eclipse’s height.