Solar eclipse is not brighter than regular sun

Solar Eclipse San Diego 5/20/2012Looking at a solar eclipse is just as dangerous for your eyes as looking at the sun not during an eclipse.  The sun emits intense light that is dangerous to our eyes even when we are not looking directly at it.  However, the crucial thing to realize is that a solar eclipse is a remarkable experience to see, and tempts people to look towards the sun for longer durations.  Also, during a total or near total eclipse, the light exposure on earth is darker, so your pupils may dilate to expose your eyes to more visible light.  When this happens, and the moon begins to remove it’s position away from a total eclipse, your dilated pupils are exposing your eyes to a higher risk of sunlight damage.

In the end, you should not worry about taking a quick glance at the solar eclipse at any moment even though it will definitely cause damage to your eyes.  Most likely, the damage will be negligible.

If you plan to participate and watch the entire show, use special protective lenses, or other safe techniques such as the pinhole projection method.

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