Annular Eclipse Safety

orange ring of Sun, mostly blocked by black moon

Eye Safety During an Annular Eclipse

The Sun is never completely blocked by the Moon during an annular solar eclipse. Therefore, during an annular eclipse, it is never safe to look directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection designed for solar viewing.

Viewing any part of the bright Sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury.

Dozens of people sit or stand outside on a rocky slope and all face the same direction (left) while holding card shaped solar viewers or while wearing solar eclipse glasses. It is a sunny day with a blue sky and trees in the background.
A crowd uses handheld solar viewers and solar eclipse glasses to safely view a solar eclipse.
Credit: National Park Service

When watching an annular solar eclipse directly with your eyes, you must look through safe solar viewing glasses (“eclipse glasses”) or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times. Eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the Sun. Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker and ought to comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard. NASA does not approve any particular brand of solar viewers.

Always inspect your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer before use; if torn, scratched, or otherwise damaged, discard the device. Always supervise children using solar viewers.

Do NOT look at the Sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.

A shadow of a hand and a kitchen colander (which appears as a circle with holes) appears on a white surface. Close inspection reveals that where sunlight passes through the holes of the colander, small crescent shapes appear.
The circular holes of a colander project crescent shapes onto the ground during the partial phases of a solar eclipse.
Credit: Joy Ng

If you don’t have eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can use an indirect viewing method, which does not involve looking directly at the Sun. One way is to use a pinhole projector, which has a small opening (for example, a hole punched in an index card) and projects an image of the Sun onto a nearby surface. With the Sun at your back, you can then safely view the projected image. Do NOT look at the Sun through the pinhole!

An illustration shows the silhouette of a person looking into a rectangular box through a hole cut into the end of a box. The Sun appears behind the person. Sunlight streams into the box through a small hole punched into a piece of aluminum foil taped over the Sun-facing end of the box, to the person's left, projecting a crescent Sun onto a white sheet of paper taped to the inside of the box.
You can make your own eclipse projector using a cardboard box, a white sheet of paper, tape, scissors, and aluminum foil. With the Sun behind you, sunlight will stream through a pinhole punched into aluminum foil taped over a hole in one side of the box. During the partial phases of a solar eclipse, this will project a crescent Sun onto a white sheet of paper taped to the inside of the box. Look into the box through another hole cut into the box to see the projected image.
Credit: NASA

Do NOT use eclipse glasses or handheld viewers with cameras, binoculars, or telescopes. Those require different types of solar filters. When viewing a partial or annular eclipse through cameras, binoculars, or telescopes equipped with proper solar filters, you do not need to wear eclipse glasses. (The solar filters do the same job as the eclipse glasses to protect your eyes.)

In the foreground, a woman sits in a chair and looks through a pair of binoculars affixed on a tripod and pointed upward. The binoculars have silver-colored coverings over the two ends of the binoculars that are pointed upward toward the Sun. Other people are seen sitting and standing around the woman and in the background.
A woman looks at the Sun through binoculars that have been fitted with solar filters. Binoculars and telescopes can only be used to look at the Sun when used with solar filters specially designed for that purpose.
Credit: NASA/Ryan Milligan

Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.

You can download safety information for the 2023 Annular Eclipse here.

A black telescope sits on grass. On the left end of the telescope, which is pointed slightly upward, is a round cover that reflects a chair and table in the distance.
A solar filter is attached to the Sun-facing end of a telescope.
Credit: Carolyn Slivinski

Skin Safety

Even during an annular eclipse, or during the partial phases before and after annularity, the Sun will be very bright. If you are watching an entire eclipse, you may be in direct sunlight for hours. Remember to wear sunscreen, a hat, and protective clothing to prevent skin damage.

Find more Tips to Stay Safe in the Sun from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Additional Safety Resources

Find more safety information to protect yourself from other outdoor and travel-related hazards at the links below.

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