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Solar Eclipse 11th August '99
Follow these cautions and directions to start the next millennium with the same eyesight you had at the end of the last one.
By Sadia Hanif

CAUTION: Solar Eclipse -- Director of EH&S, Ron Buckhout has issued this important cautionary message to everyone about the upcoming August 11th Solar Eclipse (Al-Khusoof) in which the moon will pass in front of the sun.

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Severe eye damage (and even blindness can occur) if you look at the eclipse. SUPERVISORS: Please warn your employees in the field.

It's big, yellow and shiny, it's 93 million miles away, and it's 400 times the diameter of the moon! Together with the moon, it will soon provide one of the most spectacular sights of the millennium.
What is it? It's a total eclipse of the sun, and health authorities throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East have expressed concern for the safety of observers of the August 11th. event. The eclipse itself will take about an hour to complete, and the sun will  be completely obscured for less than 5 minutes. While it is not recommended to look at the sun even when it is fully obscured, (you will actually be looking at the moon, covering the sun) damage is most likely to occur if The observer looks at a partially covered sun, watching as the moon slowly covers or uncovers the sun.

WARNING:Citing concerns for permanent damage to the eyes, the health authorities are warning that looking directly at the sun, even for a brief time can cause partial or even total blindness. This damage occurs when infrared and ultra-violet radiation strikes the back of the eye burning small "holes" in the retina.

NO PROTECTION USING THESE ITEMS: Using sunglasses, exposed camera film or compact discs to directly observe the eclipse will not protect your eyes from such damage.

MATERIALS TO USE FOR LOOKING AT IT: Get a piece of thick cardboard (from a carton) about 1 foot square. Put a small pin-sized hole in the middle of it. Next get a piece of white paper, A4 size, and paste it to another piece of cardboard.

A SAFE METHOD TO LOOK: First, turn your back to the sun. Then use the "indirect method" by holding the cardboard with the hole in it, in one hand up over your shoulder. In the other hand hold the other piece of cardboard with the white piece of paper toward you. Keep both about 1 meter away from each other (in other words, keep the white paper at full arm's length, stretched out). The sunlight will shine through the pinhole in the cardboard near your shoulder and will project an image of the eclipse on the white paper.
As a final comment: Don't look directly at the sun, as you enjoy the eclipse.

Follow these cautions and directions to start the next millennium with the same eyesight you had at the end of the last one.


To know more about 11th August Eclipse

NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum.
NASA -  Full coverage of 11th August Eclipse
Live Solar Eclipse '99
Sun Chat (Discuss with others)
Solar Quiz
Discovery OnLine