General FAQ

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Questions about the solar eclipse itself are answered below. Thanks for stopping by!

Solar Eclipse FAQ

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon aligns with the sun. Depending on the alignment, there may be a total eclipse, partial eclipse, or annular (ring of fire) eclipse.

When is the eclipse?

The next annular eclipse will occur on October 2nd, 2024. The exact time of day varies by location - check a map.

Where can I see the eclipse? Can I still see it if I'm outside its path?

View the map here.

The October 2nd 2024 eclipse starts over the Pacific Ocean, including Rapa Nui. It then crosses the southern territories of Chile and Argentina. Then it will pass just North of Islas Malvinas.

Outside this path, you will see a partial eclipse across the southern continent. The sky won't go dark, but the moon will still cover part of the sun and take a "bite" out of it.

A map of the path the annular eclipse will take over South Amierca on October 2 2024.
Image credit: Michael Zeiler GreatAmericanEclipse.com.

Why do I need eclipse glasses? Can I use regular sunglasses instead?

Even a small visible portion of the sun can damage your eyes if you look at it too long.

The sun emits ultraviolent and infrared light. Your eyeball acts like a magnifying glass, causing burns that can lead to blindness if you are not careful.

Proper solar viewers can protect your eyes. Regular sunglasses do not filter the right type of light to be effective and do not meet the ISO 12312-2 standard for looking at the sun.

Other safe methods exist, but with subpar quality:

  • Welding goggles give the sun an unusual green tint.
  • Mylar produces a cold blue tint. Poorly made sheets may have pinholes that let light in.
  • PInhole projectors that project an image of the eclipse onto a wall do not show the same amount of detail or colors that you can see when looking at the sun directly (with proper equipment).

For a sharp image of the sun in a pleasing yellow-orange color, we recommend using solar eclipse glasses.

How do eclipse glasses work? What are they made of?

Our glasses use a silver-black polymer film made by Thousand Oaks Optical, a US-based company. They have a metallic coating outside surface and an absorptive material within the substrate, blocking 99.999% of incoming light energy from entering the instrument.

Can I take pictures of the eclipse with a solar filter?

Absolutely! The maker of the filters (Thousand Oaks Optical) states their silver-black polymer filter is ideal for visual and photographic use up to 100x magnification.

Just make sure to place the filter first in line to block the sun, so you aren't magnifying an unfiltered stream of light into your eyes or your camera. Ensure the filter is properly attached so it won't fall off or have any gaps that let light enter.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has posted a guide on safely photographing eclipses, linked here.

Can I use eclipse glasses with my prescription glasses?

Yes. You can wear both at the same time. Just make sure to place the eclipse viewers in front of your glasses. This is so they can filter the sun before it enters your glasses, protecting your vision from magnified UV/IR rays.

Depending on the size of your glasses, they can worn at the same time over your existing pair, attached with tape, or held in place with a spare hand.

Are the glasses safe to use?

Yes. They are safe for direct solar viewing (ISO 12312-2:2015 compliant and CE certified). See our certification page for more information.

We only use glasses made in the USA by American Paper Optics, a company recognized by the American Astronomical Society's Solar Eclipse Task Force as a supplier of safe solar viewers and listed on the latter's website.

The ISO and CE testing was performed by ICS laboratories, a US company.

Further verification can be provided by contacting us here.