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Lookout: Here's What NOT to Do During a Total Eclipse

Posted by Johnson Memorial Health on Apr 5, 2024

Blog-EclipseHaving a rare total eclipse in Johnson County, Indiana is a rare celestial event. Thousands of visitors are expected to travel to our community to experience it. Undoubtedly, you have plans with family and friends to celebrate this remarkable occurrence as the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and turns day into night.

However, amidst the excitement, it's important to remember that certain actions can detract from the experience or even pose risks.  Here are several things you should avoid doing during a total solar eclipse:

1. Don't Look at the Sun Without Proper Eye Protection

This is the golden rule of eclipse watching. Observing the Sun directly without specially designed solar viewing glasses can cause permanent eye damage or blindness. This includes the partial phases of an eclipse when the Sun is only partially covered by the Moon. The only time it’s safe to look at the eclipse without protection is during the brief phase of totality when the Sun’s bright face is completely covered by the Moon.

2. Don't Rely on Unsafe Filters

Sunglasses, smoked glass, unfiltered telescopes or binoculars, X-ray film, and similar materials are not safe for looking at the Sun. Only use solar filters or viewers that meet the international standard ISO 12312-2 for safe viewing.

3. Don't Forget to Experience the Totality Without Devices

While it's tempting to capture the moment with your smartphone or camera, don’t forget to take some time to experience the eclipse directly. The totality phase of a solar eclipse is short-lived, usually lasting only a few minutes. Spending too much time fiddling with gadgets can detract from the experience. Make sure to pause, look around, and enjoy the sudden night, the drop in temperature, and the 360-degree sunset.

4. Don't Ignore Traffic Safety

Eclipse chasers often travel long distances to find a spot within the path of totality. If you're driving to an observation site, plan to arrive early and park in a safe location. Do not stop on the side of the road, on bridges, or in tunnels. Sudden stopping and parking can lead to accidents and traffic jams.

5. Don't Go Where You Are Not Supposed to Be

There are many locations throughout the county where you can best view the event. Festival County, the local tourism bureau, has a list. We recommend you find a spot and not park on someone's private property. Everyone should enjoy the event and not experience a confrontation.

6. Don't Leave a Trace Behind

If you're heading out into nature to view the eclipse, practice Leave No Trace principles. Take all your trash with you, respect wildlife and leave the area as you found it. This ensures that the natural sites remain beautiful and accessible for others.

7. Don't Use Flash Photography

During the total eclipse, avoid using flash photography. Not only is it unnecessary (the eclipse provides its own dramatic lighting), but it can also ruin the experience for others around you.

8. Don't Let Pets Stare at the Sun

Just like humans, pets can suffer eye damage from looking directly at the Sun. Although they're less likely to look at the Sun, it's best to keep pets indoors or in a shaded area during an eclipse, or at the very least, use pet-friendly eye protection if they will be outside with you.

A total solar eclipse is a wondrous event that should be enjoyed safely and respectfully. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a memorable and awe-inspiring experience.

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Topics: Emergency